I woke up this morning to the sound of zippers. Closing my bags for another work trip just before dawn. Then all the windows began to glow with the sunrise. I looked out the skylight in the bedroom and the clouds all puffy and pink. I carried my bag downstairs and heard the boys already talking. Stephie was laying with Asher. Jackson was watching something and I gathered them all onto the porch. Boys wrapped up in their blankets. Stephie wrapped in the part of the day she would rather me not take pictures. I knew better than to use my iPhone to capture the morning, they are color blind to the first pink of dawn. I grabbed my big camera. There was much less light than I thought (maybe that is why the iPhone over compensates to bright and blue). Stephie held the boys and they all once again indulged me. I don’t have to make excuses about taking these pictures anymore. After a couple of images, the boys ran back into the warm house. Stephie opens the screen door and whispers to me, “that is what the Lange family does.” Zip up my camera case. Zip up my tripod case. Zip up my knapsack and I am off.
Asher is 5 today. He is never going to stop for his Dad to take a picture so I have to catch him on the run. Sometimes, when Stephie paints a great backdrop, Asher will agree to run in front of it - but he will never stop. Never! Happy Birthday Asher. We love you. To which he always replies, "I love you more." #shootyourlife #unfrogettableinstagram
Stephie made this amazing frame to shoot Asher and his friends for his 4th birthday party. Asher was sick, the party was cancelled - now it is there just for documentation. Asher is not into posing. Never has been, though I have won the battle often enough (not in this shot). I have been thinking about this generation - the first whose every single move is being documented. It was even funny to see the exasperation on the "professional" guy shooting pictures for the soccer league as every parent shot with their phones over his shoulder. (He lost my sympathy when the team assembled with their arms over each other and he moved them into a stupid, generic pose). My point is, what are our kids thinking as they are having to look into a camera everyday? "Hold that!" "Stand there!" "Can you just do that one more time?" What happens when they are looking at all these shots of themselves? I am as guilty as anyone on the planet of feeling that need to capture everything or else I will forget. My kids sometimes feel an experience is not validated without a picture. They love having the history. I get that. But what is going through their minds with their expressions? Jackson's fake smile that only appears for the camera. Asher pushing me away with his fingers. I have embraced the awkwardness. Have indulged them then moved onto the next shot (digital memory is cheap). Still, I hope we don't find out years from now that in all this documentation we were missing the best moments through wanting to capture them. #shootyourlife
Asher falls asleep mid-sentence. Like pressing the pause button. A lot can happen for him before his eyes open again. While my job is to look over and protect, I am not invited into his dreams. If I wake up before Asher, a rare occurrence, I go into his room and open the blue curtains. Then I stare at those beautiful closed eyes for a moment. I put my hand on his back to feel the heat and know he is alive. I sit still and take it all in, before beginning to whisper him awake. Asher awakes in a blink, pushes play and begins to finish the sentence he left hanging the night before. My father had two older brothers and an older sister. When my younger brother Andrew was born, he started a club in the neighborhood called, “The Younger Brother’s Club.” He felt that younger brothers needed some extra love and support and wanted them to feel special. Asher is an official member of the “Younger Brother’s Club”, but he is lucky. His older brother tells him everyday how much he loves him and he seals it with a hug. Not that they don’t try to crush each other sometimes. His grandmother’s hold him close and from afar. His mother spends everyday loving him more and more. His father has insisted the younger brother gets photographed just as much as his older brother. Asher doesn’t give but a moment to take the pictures we take everyday.
But oh…. the moments he shares.
Happy Birthday younger brother.
We love you more than we could ever say.
This summer was about nothing special, which allowed every little thing to become special. We moved into a new house (our 4th move in two years) that quickly felt like home. Our porch became a gateway to a whole new community, which was the best part of all. I need a community to raise my boys, and for us to feel a part of. I need dinners and brunches that unfold without evites. I could not get enough of watching my boys burst out the screen door with the sunrise, yell out friends names out into the trees...and then, hearing their names yelled back from across the street. “BRUNO! LEO!!” “JACKSON! ASHER!”This summer I spent the most time with my family. Most baseballs thrown. Most trips to the frozen custard stand. Most moments being so happy doing absolutely nothing. We really did nothing this summer. Didn’t travel. Didn’t get caught in traffic. Didn’t pack and unpack. We went to a bunch of Rockies baseball games. Saw Rufus Wainwright after a picnic. Even saw James Taylor, which is kind of embarrassing to admit how much I enjoyed that. Spent alot of time on the incredible farms that are just within reach of our home with the Meadow Lark troupe. Lots of friends visited. Our moms came for great long visits. It rained almost every day for a moment or so. It got greener and greener and in the end the peaches dripped uncontrollably down our chins. We knew Labor Day was coming. School started too early and kind of messed up the timing. The weather pretended to bring fall earlier than it was welcomed. It began getting dark before we closed the curtains at night. Then Labor Day weekend. Bagels and fresh orange juice. Burrata and chicken. The ice cream truck waved down by Jackson. Salmon skewers and grilled peaches with ricotta and pine nuts. Baseball slip and slide. Hoola hoop contests. Baseballs sailing over into Tim’s yard. Laughing so hard at pictures that were impossibly silly. Mostly, it was about making sure our new friends were on board when the heat goes on. That they know the calls out from the porch will only get louder when storm windows come down. Labor Day always makes me melancholy. But the fall is starting out fast this year. Jackson is circling the days on the calendar through next spring he wants to get the lunch at school, then he is circling back to mark everyone’s birthday. Asher is diving off the picnic table into his blue blanket, which is the world’s smallest and most dangerous pool. Stephie and I are as close as we have ever been, which is saying a lot. The window behind our heads is blowing the cool breeze from the mountains over our sleep. Labor Day is like sealing an envelope full of peach pits. That chapter is gone except for the memories. The outdoor pool is closing. The sun streaking across on the porch is slipping away. The mental pictures. Maybe some of the real ones. Tomorrow morning starts early and new. OR, as Styron wrote, “it was not judgement day, only morning. Morning, excellent and fine.”