16 May 2009

photobooth friday



I ask for two things on mother's day: photobooths and cupcakes. more specifically, a quick trip to the photobooth at the ace followed by a stop at saint cupcake. these days, I have to bribe ezra to get him into the booth anyway so the entire afternoon works out rather nicely for all involved parties. I get a photobooth strip, he gets a cupcake. actually, we all get cupcakes. very win-win.



so we get to the lobby of the ace and I dig through the apocalypse that is my purse to find the three wadded-up dollar bills I have been holding onto for like, days. we squeeze into the booth, adjust the chair, spin it around a dozen times or so and settle in. then we look for the slot but it isn't there. instead, there's this:



I know. it's not a big deal. credit cards only now, big whoop. but it leaves me feeling deflated. the inside of an old photobooth is one place I don't want to swipe my debit card. I just don't. I would also like to add that it's especially tricky to swipe said debit card while balancing two kids on your lap. you might as well kiss that first frame goodbye but whatever. as we leave, I tell ward that I am not so good with small changes like this. I am no good with change in general but I'm particularly resistant to anything that interrupts personal ritual or tradition. this is something he already knows but I say it anyway. it makes me feel better.

parenting is a neverending exercise in accepting change. just when you've learned to navigate the rocky terrain of one age, a new one emerges. daily routines are forged and followed meticuloulsy but often shift in mercurial ways. learn to roll with it or suffer the consequences. I am mostly learning to roll with it. last week, ezra wanted to know what he was like as a baby. he wanted more than the pictures we have scattered throughout the house, more than the stories we tell him so we dug up the box of tapes in the basement and watched old video footage. let me tell you, I was not prepared. I was not prepared at all. to see ezra just five months old, all bright-eyed and doughy, gurgling, cooing and reaching towards an impossibly tiny four year-old ava. whose voice, by the way, is but a heartbreakingly miniature version of the one we now know. all kinds of soft and just the right amount of sweet. I'd forgotten about that little voice.

then we stumble onto something I'd filmed just one day before ezra was born. ava is wearing an enormous faded pink tutu that's been clipped in place with an old wooden clothes pin and her ponytail is the sweetest mess. the sounds of yann tiersen on the accordion fill the room and she is dancing. wildly. she spins, she bows, she balances on one leg then the other, she collapses melodramatically into a heap on the floor only to rise again and again. she is oblivious to everything around her, she is completely lost in this dance. my heart breaks at the sight of it. for a hundred different reasons but mainly because what if I hadn't decided to pick up the video camera that day? because there is no going back. because this girl, she has changed so much since then and the changes, they just keep coming.

balancing ava and ezra on my lap in the photobooth last sunday afternoon, I realized just how much they'd grown. I could barely hold the two of them on my lap. I remember how each one used to fit so perfectly in the crook of my hip, how I wondered if I'd ever not be holding one or the other this way. will I ever not have a baby on my hip? the answer is yes and that time is now. this is another small change I grieve. I know, change is inevitable. there's no stopping it and it's all I can do to stay as loosely rooted in the moment as I am able and meet each change with as much acceptance as I can muster. it's all I can do, it's all I can do.

but I am no good with change, I tell ward. repeatedly, I tell him this. I know, he says. I know.

57 comments:

  1. This change thing - it's hard, and I know. Oh, how I know. You've written about it beautifully here. And you're all a bunch of cuties in the photo booth!

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  2. Lovely post, and such beautiful imagery in your writing, I can imagine what your home videos look like x

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  3. That is an adorable photo. Change can be hard, it's easy to say to 'embrace it' but it's rather hard to actually do it. And sometimes we forget that we're the ones that are changing too. ;)

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  4. boy do i know what you mean. those old (old?! not really) home movies are so wonderful to watch, and so heart wrenching, too! right now, i feel so fortunate to have the amazing best of both worlds: this little boy who is so quickly turning into a young man- one who holds the door for me, who tells me i look pretty in my new yellow striped tank top, who thankfully still lets me kiss on him like he's two years old, who still has sleepovers in our bed on friday nights. and then, this little 1 year old doll baby of a girl, who has begun to pat my chest and lower her head down and put her open mouth on me, like 'hey lady, let's go sit down together somewhere', this little baby girl who changes and learns so much every day that it is incredible to watch, who has really reminded me HOW MUCH I JUST LOVE BABIES and i feel like i just want to squeeze her right into my chest, i love her so much.

    i think one thing i've come to realize about being a mom of a kid who's *not a baby anymore* is how cool it is that this little person is my FRIEND, and i love that.

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  5. Holy Good Goodness. . . you've just captured so beautifully what I've awkwardly described before as "feeling nostalgic for the moment before the moment's even over." This post hit me just right today.
    My 4 year old had a melt-down at the end of a party this evening. I found myself carrying our picnic wares, toys and while also trying to carry her on the crook of my hip. All the while she sobbed and her snot soaked into my shirt. I didn't get 15 feet before I had to put her down. It was all I could do not to start sobbing too.
    It was only a few months ago that I could have pulled off that load, able to soothe the crying kid AND carry all of the stuff. . . alas, she had to walk herself to the car and she shoved away my attempts at comforting when we got there. . . I too, am no good with change.

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  6. This post gave me chills (the good kind). Thanks for reminding me that they won't be little forever (I have a two and an almost four year old and sometimes I forget).

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  7. i'm terrible at change. but you make it sound so poetic that it's almost likable.

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  8. What a beautiful post. I don't have kids, but I think I understand how you feel. Remember that with change come new exciting things too!

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  9. only you (beautiful you!) could summarize the heartbreaking joy of being a mother in one little soul-expanding post.

    I. love. this.

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  10. Oh Andrea, this had me all teary. What a sweet photo and I know exactly what you mean about these babes of our growing up. My Eleanor is only 2.5 and I can feel it. Barely a bit of baby pudge...I still try my hardest to keep her on my hip even though the days are so numbered now. And I sigh because I am NOT taking many videos and haven't even picked up our camera in a month! Terrible! I love photos so much but there is something about a video that really is special. To see that flicker of a smile, that subtle movement....I have a terrible memory at times and so much would be all lost save these moments we capture. Ok, going to take some videos today! :) Childhood is so sweet and I feel so lucky to be living in the midst of it--probably why I chose to be a children's librarian - to be closer to that magic and to read like, the best books ever all the time.

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  11. You're all so pretty!

    I completely agree that the photobooth should never swipe cards...can't anything be left sacred, like it should be?

    Not everything considered progress moves us forward, in my opinion, but your photos are beautiful!!

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  12. I wish I could have articulated the ache of change as well as you did. I was lucky enough to discover my old videos of the girls while I was home alone. I say lucky because I cried my eyes out.

    Cupcakes and photo booths are a great tradition. And the photo itself is a real treasure.

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  13. I love that you guys have a "photobooth friday"! I wish there was a photobooth near me! I have some with my little sis from a few yrs ago, but the one at the mall no longer is there! So I know how you feel about change! That sign about the credit card was very silly, I can't believe it! But as always loved your photos!

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  14. No way to slice or dice it; the past is just that. So really truly, all we have is today. But between you and me, with the kid thing, it gets better and better. You'll see.

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  15. That just seems wrong - but at least the note is cheeky.

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  16. you are so gifted. as a photographer, a writer, an inspirational creative soul. but i have to say, i have witnessed your mothering, your wife-ing and your friend-ing and although it might not seem conceivable, you are even more gifted at those things.

    :)

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  17. i must echo all others speaking of your beautiful writing and my own subsequent thinking just tonight that my daughter must have gained 10kg in the last week she's so heavy and i can't believe how much of the bathtub she fills out... but almost as remakable is the pain of seeing such delectable icing on those cupcakes and knowing that where i live, there are no 24 hr stores to just go to and buy one right now.

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  18. Heartfelt, honest, beautiful and bittersweet. I don't like change much either!

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  19. Such a great post. And the photo is even better....

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  20. Yes, and yes, and yes. The poet William Stafford said he'd give up all of the poems he'd ever written for the chance to write a new one. This post made me think of that - letting go of the past so you can step fully into the future. The balancing, the balancing, always the balancing... : )

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  21. beautiful. this entry breaks my heart and mends it all at once.

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  22. ...and then comes the day when they make a funny remark and it is crazy funny,
    like something your best friend would say and you realize,

    "These ARE my best friends."

    Now, that is Mother's Happy Day!

    As always, thanks for sharing your word pictures with us all.

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  23. i love photobooth pics too, i carry one of my husband and me in my journal and smile everytime i look at it. Change is hard, and your writing makes it so poeticly beautiful. I just posted a great painting on my blog from an Etsy artist and her words inpire me for future change. I think you will like it!

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  24. i think you're better at change than you realize.
    love you!

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  25. there are so many layers in your writing, which makes it so insightful to read...it sneaks up on you, in fact. it's really amazing how one moment of change can resonate within the context of a life history and trigger all of these seismic waves of recognition. someone at a framing shop once told me, when requesting special uv-protection glass for a print, that, over time, "I would change as the print changed." I didn't get my piece framed with them.

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  26. Your way with words is magic and genuine. Wouldn't it be so cool if they switched back to cash once again? That's my wish for you!

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  27. Change sucks! I felt sad for you when you said about no more baby on your hip but then i felt sad for me because one day that will be me only you'll have cooler pictures and if i don't pull out my finger and get in that booth i'll just have memories except that you never quite remember right unless its pictured or taped. Huh?

    Change ;(

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  28. You're ripping me apart here. My mister and I were just telling the newlywed ones this exact thing about parenthood: the only constant thing is that the kid keeps changing.

    It is so hard.

    I can't watch any videos. I can't be in the videos. Being a cancer survivor, lucky to have one kid but always always always wanting the second -- it's all too much I say.

    I don't like any of it.
    Yet, I love it.

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  29. I totally agree with Hi Kooky -- you've written beautifully about this subject. I could picture everything as I read it and I mourned those past moments with you as only another mother can.

    Continue to write and photograph your children as they grow. It does help. And enjoy the people they become. They'll be wonderful!

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  30. This blog is beautifully inspiring. I think you have hooked me completely.

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  31. It was great to read this. I haven't had kids yet, but I'm definitely going to be the kind of mom to pick up the camera as much as possible, shoot video, and keep all their drawings in a special trunk (I even plan to hang them up, framed, as artwork). It's sad to see them grow up so fast, but it's also quite beautiful too, as you've so brilliantly illustrated :)

    I wish we had a photobooth around here....

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  32. Oh, lovely. I've never wanted to be a mom but this post reminds me how beautiful the experience of motherhood must be for those who are. Thanks!

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  33. hey there...found your blog through poppytalk! It is so delightful...love your lists and the way you write......

    will be back lots.......

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  34. change is scary..I am hoping the cupcakes helped! I know they help with whatever is filling my head...your babies are so adorable I can barely stand it...xo t

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  35. i agree with you 100%
    when i had my first baby i said 'no video in the delivery room' but after my little sweetie was born my husband asked if he could do a little quicktime video on the camera & everytime i see it i just cry...i love photos, there is nothing like them, but video makes it all seem so real & so far away...i'm tears now, for goodness sake :)

    i always love your words...
    :)

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  36. I have tears in my eyes...

    I too am changephobic and as I struggle with the fact that my little girl is turning 16 next month, I can so relate to the story you are telling.

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  37. ok. that is a great post. boy, can you write. and, i'm sorry. i know you were bummed about the whole credit card thing, but haha! at least the person who posted the sign had a sense of humor about it! that credit card sign is almost frame-able! and the rest of your post about the kids growing... that really got my heart strings. i got all teary-eyed thinking about my own little muffins and how much they've grown and the videos i have stashed away and the photos of them when they were able to fit in a paper grocery bag. like, all the way inside it. thank goodness i have a photo of that. somewhere. sigh.

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  38. Hmm, that is annoying. That is my go-to photobooth. Maybe with the warning I won't be annoyed.

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  39. I love it. I wish I knew where the nearest photo booth is. It's been way too long since I stepped into one!

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  40. I've just given you a One Lovely Blog Award for being in my Top Ten blogs, which you can pick up at http://plotz.blogsome.com Big hugs!!!

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  41. Oh...my oldest is off to Europe this summer, and then off to Smith. How did this happen?

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  42. Okay, I started off reading your post and making the mental note that I *need* to find an old photo booth and do this with my kiddos (love your tradition), and then I end up in tears. You couldn't have touched my heart any more. I am trying hard to celebrate the milestones bc they are so sweet and exciting, but I find myself mourning them in my heart. My babies are 6 and 21 months and I want to freeze time for just a little bit. Of course I think this at every phase/stage. So wonderful heart-wrenching to be a mommy.

    All that being sad, thanks for the touching thoughts.

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  43. sister...this post has me seriously crying.
    sad, grateful, knowing, mama-tears.

    liam is 28 pounds now and i have been bringing the stroller along with us since he is so heavy.
    but today. i am only bringing the sling. i am going to hold him close and enjoy each second of it...try to get enough in so it won't be so hard when he says "mama, down."

    i know it's coming...and that breaks my heart, too...even though i know each change is precious.

    thank you, as always, for your words and sweet photos. your sweet babies are just so lovely and GROWING!!!

    love to you.
    have a stellar weekend!

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  44. What a lovely photobooth picture. I, too, was looking at old home videos the other day, and I felt just (ok, EXACTLY) how you did: nostalgic and weepy! I was mourning the sweet, little voices and chubby thighs the most. I just might cry right now, so I'll stop!
    Why, oh why, did the photo booths have to change?? Credit cards, my foot. I was stunned and annoyed when I saw that a while ago.

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  45. What a beautiful post! It was just what I needed to read just months before I become a mother for the first time and regularly worry about bungling the entire process. You have reminded me to breathe, enjoy, savor the moments and not get caught up in the "right" of everything. Thank you!

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  46. wonderful..this brought tears to my eyes...I hate change too...and I know just what you mean about the kids...and mine are so much bigger 21 and 14...it does simply keep changing. I have a voisemail from my 14 yr old on the phone in my office...I have been saving it now for 10 years,,,but tht little voice that same person...here come the tears again. thanks.
    xxxMaria

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  47. I got all choked up reading
    this post! My lil' girl will be
    2 tomorrow. The cute baby
    chub is slowly disappearing
    and I'm wondering where
    the heck the time went! I
    thank you for sharing this
    post. I'm going to go and
    plant a million kisses on my
    soon-to-be-two year old!
    P.S. Yann Tiersen is a genius!

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  48. Hello lovely lady....this was a super touching post. Wolfie just turned five and I'm so aware of him becoming a little boy. He still loves to scramble into my lap and cuddle like there's no tomorrow, but his long legs have to tangle up around mine now so he doesn't slide off. I NEVER imagined a day where I could hold him on my hip or where he fit so neatly on my lap.
    *sigh*
    I know change is inevitable...but I'm with ya. I have a tough time. Thanks for such a wonderful post....
    xo
    alex

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  49. oh.

    i know this feeling.

    mine are 9 and 13.

    i know this feeling well.

    right now, i relish the moments
    that they stay still for my
    quick kiss goodbye,
    the days that they actually come
    to me first for that kiss or that hug, i write in my journal, i gush about it to my husband, to my mother, to anyone that will listen....
    they came to me...they wanted a kiss a hug comfort warmth they needed me...

    sigh.

    i know this feeling.

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  50. i love this. and there isn't, is there? there is no going back.

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  51. That blows my mind. I never thought i'd see the day when a photo booth takes only credit cards! Very upsetting. I guess we can just be glad photo booths are still around.

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  52. Just stumbled on your blog today via Ali Edwards.

    I am not a mother (or even close to being one at any point in the next few years), but this brought tears to my eyes. So beautifully written.

    Thanks.

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  53. You know, as much as I love the seven year old version of my Sloane, I still grieve for the baby that has gone. Even though watching her pile up with a book on her own makes me all kinds of delighted and fills me with pride, I miss the little girl whose most frequent sentence was, "Wead it to me, Momma. Wead it. Pwease!"

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  54. me too.
    change is hard.
    time slips by so quickly.

    found your blog via SAW's website.
    look forward to exploring here.

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