I wonder what goes through Olivia's mind when I reach for my camera. ("not again, MOM", perhaps) It's almost always nearby so it happens a lot. Most of the time my aim is to be a quiet observer, acting fast, in and out, nobody hurt, but occasionally I can't help myself, and I start directing. Once I get going, it's SO hard to stop. "Stay right there. The light is so pretty...I just have to...freeze...now, turn this way. Ok, look up, turn a bit to the right, that's perfect"....and so it has been since she was born. But she prefers candid shots these days and I have learned to keep the posed shots to a handful.
Friday, we were rushing, minutes from needing to walk out the door for dance camp, (rumor was that latecomers had to do ten pushups for every minute late) when something about the graceful way Olivia moved and the soft light on her cheek, her blue eyes bluer than usual, stopped me as I hurried through the room, packing waters, grabbing lunch bags. I watched her tie her pink Converses, smiling up at me, just like all the other mornings this past week. That's when I felt it, a solid thump, painful, right in my chest. "Your little girl is growing up, look she is her own person, she didn't even need you to do a bun today for the first time; she has a life separate from yours, a purpose all her own, someday she won't be in this house everyday, she will have her own place, a career. Think of how fast these tens years have gone," this thump told me. And so I listened to this thump, this wise thump, and I put down the things in my arms and sat down at the table with Olivia. It was only a few extra minutes but they mean the world to me. And luckily, the camera was on the table, not even in the bag yet, and maybe because Olivia also seems suddenly tuned to the passing days and her own growing, changing, she sat with patience and let me snap a few extra. Twenty frames. I have shared my favorite. (Notice the newly pierced ears.) And we weren't even late. Every light turned green. Five minutes to spare.