Bigger Than Yesterday

Freedom of Speech

2016.03.16I asked Asher this morning what the other half of talking was….he said, “listening to what people say.” Asher was in his first play over the weekend, “The Little Mermaid.” A lot was communicated in songs sung off key and missed lines to the most forgiving of parents. The drama teacher danced wildly in the back of the theater as all the kids on stage tried to imitate her. Afterwards on the playground, Asher’s pre-school teacher Polly, who has the most generous and empathetic heart I have ever known, shared a terrifying story. She told us of an African American friend who is a speech therapist for a high school in Denver. When this woman came out to her car last week, it was covered in lipstick with the message, “Go Back To Africa.”

When we drop our children at school to learn about freedom of speech it is just as important they learn the power of listening. Asher is 5 years old. He knows more about listening than all the people screaming to build walls while covering their ears. He still sees the world as a place filled with love. I hope he never turns on the news to see the endless loops of sucker punches and scrolls on the bottom of the screen dividing us all.

Missing Tooth and Relish

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At Jackson’s elementary school they send 3-4 kids home everyday with a tooth necklace. A rite of passage the tooth fairy felt special enough to leave the $2 bill without taking the tooth that has lived in the top of his smile for over 8 years.

Last night at dinner my son Asher, (age 5) asked if I liked relish. “Well Asher, I don’t LOOOVE relish.” Then he asked, if my father, Jack (who has been gone since 1998) liked relish. I didn’t know the answer to that. I know he liked yellow mustard. I called my mother and she wasn’t sure either - but she said, “he loved garlic pickles.”

Like most families across America we spent breakfast talking about what we would do with a billion dollars. Jackson, imagined buying the sports palaces he visits in Denver. The whole ritual of going to a game now involves a horrible maze of cost vs. privilege. “Dad I KNOW $180 for these seats to the Winter Classic is too much and I am fine without going BUT do you want to see where the seats are?” “DAD, for only $120 total we can sit way up here for the Nuggets.” If Jackson won the lottery he would be sitting in the first row for every Nuggets game, every Rockies game - AND - would see if there was enough money leftover to buy Heinz Field. Then...at the end of breakfast, he said, “If I won the lottery I would buy a plane so I could visit my grandmother’s for the next 20 years.”

Unfortunately I have never bought a lottery ticket. Don't believe in them, but love the dreams.

Modern-Day Grandmother

2015.12.28 This is the modern day grandmother reading about the history of the World Series to her grandson before sleep. At the end of this year when we are filling our pockets with thanks of all kinds - here are some of my thanks represented in this shot: I am thankful that my mother is healthy and so engaged with technology but not a slave to it. She is living life so intensely that when I suggested that her incredible curiosity was her key to life - she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I just don't want to miss anything." I am thankful that Jackson is so engaged with her and teaching us all everyday about love. I am thankful that the camera on my iphone can capture an image of this astonishing quality - handheld, only the light from the ipad, shot quickly before anyone shut me down. I saw the Apple segment on 60 Minutes last weekend that talked about our astonishing phone camera we take for granted and appreciate the wonders of that tool we use everyday even more. This next year my goal is to take nothing for granted. The love, the evidence, and the sharing. ‪#‎unforgettableinstagram‬ ‪#‎shootyourlife‬ ‪#‎iphone‬ ‪#‎apple‬‪#‎iphonecamera‬

Black Friday

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There were more guns sold in the US on Black Friday than almost any day in history. It demanded that the FBI process background checks at a rate of 2 per second. 40% of those sales were through unlicensed sellers. That seems a much more dangerous and porous process than the poor people who have to wait through 2 years of hell to get a ticket to our shores. I wonder what the process on Ellis Island was to gain admission to the land of the free besides not having some communicable disease. My photo teacher from RISD, Wendy MacNeil wrote to me this week saying, "Your stories and your photos don't have to "go together" in any way - just being your favorite pictures and favorite stories - YOU! - already means it's 'together'." So with that in mind, I am going to post a picture of Asher at dinner tonight along with my thoughts on guns. It looks like Asher is pretty weary in the picture of all this news, too. ‪#‎unforgettableinstagram‬ ‪#‎shootyourlife‬

Does Photography Make you Alive?

2015.12.02  

Asher asked me last week if photography makes me alive. This is from a kid who has been photographed almost every single day of his life by his father. I could have explained that my photography captures what is alive for me to remember and share. But to be honest...I was speechless. I try to take my pictures really quickly so Asher never looks over (like he did to the barber last night) and asks, "how much longer is this going to take??" I am hoping much much longer.

Jackson is 8

201510.29 There was almost no discussion about having a child before or after we got married. Being a lot older than most people to the parenting party, not discussing it was probably insane - yet…..what else could I say when the person I loved so much wanted to have a child with me? Should I have brought up all kinds of logistical things? Do I discuss money and our future then start on all the things that could go wrong? Do I try to micro manage the dream of something so beyond my wildest dreams? Still - I had no idea how much I wanted to be a father. I could never have imagined what I was holding in. Then one night Stephie handed me three envelopes. When I opened the third one, there was a drawing of a heart plus another heart equalling a baby. I cried harder at that moment than I had ever cried. My insides just opened up and I couldn’t pull myself together for a long time. It was the deepest ache and joy simultaneously.. How can you know how much you want something until it is really there? How can you know the love of your life until you are really living each day together?

There is no way a man can appreciate all a woman goes through having a child. Even though we are hopefully a big of source of support, we cannot be inside that beautiful body going through such an intense metamorphous. The time spent pregnant is both compressed and goes on forever. On the morning of our second anniversary, Stephie said, “I am going to give you the best anniversary present ever.” 7 hours of intense labor after that, Jackson appeared in three breaths. CRIES. SWEAT. First the top of his head poked out. BREATHE. PUSH. Then his whole head. Jackson’s whole head was right there emerging from Stephie. She was doing all the work and I stood holding her and looking through streams of tears. AWWWWWEEEEEE! Finally on the next breath Jackson launched into the world.

Everything in your life prepares you for this moment and yet it is nothing you can imagine. Jackson was alive in our arms and I cried even harder while trying to count his fingers and toes. As tightly as we held him, I also knew the process of having a child is the process of letting go. Even from those very first moments.

Jackson is 8 years old on our tenth wedding anniversary - which is today. My mother said last night, "The amazing thing about Jackson is he never says good, he always says great. He never likes things, he always loves them.” He comes by that honestly.

Jackson never misses a beat in appreciating what makes each moment sing. He has albums full of mental pictures he saves on his internal hard drive. There is so much we love about our kids, but I think before everything, I so appreciate Jackson’s kindness. His good mornings and goodbyes. His kisses and hugs and being so sensitive and appreciative. When I am going away for a work trip, he fights back his tears so bravely and says, “I am going to miss you Dad.” Just before I completely fall apart, he throws me a bone giving me a count of the days until I will be home for us both to look forward to.

Jackson is a child of the world now, but oh how we love him, and oh…..how he loves us back.