The picture spoke it’s thousand words.
It was supposed to be routine the third time around. I had done the senior year thing twice before. The first one was admittedly tough, because the oldest records all the firsts. I was ready for the onslaught of emotion at the studio as my daughter was draped and photographed, but frankly it was a bit of a blur. I wasn’t feeling anything at that moment. I was present, but my emotions were wrapped in layers of gauze.
We chatted happily about the photo session- the backdrops, the photographers; other kids who were part of a great long train of teens being hustled through the senior portrait experience. We came home completely exhausted from the shoot and the extreme heat of the day.
Then my daughter shared a few proofs from a recent photo shoot. A series of pictures of all three of my children. Staring at the picture of their three smiling faces, the protective layer on my heart crumbled. I saw three young adults. Strange, yet familiar They have lost that “kid” look and are all grown up. Looking into their eyes in that photo I see everything else: their kindness and caring towards their parents, and each other, their self-confidence, and their sense of purpose.
We may not have done marriage well, but the ex and I have three successes in our children.
Suddenly the senior portrait session came back in detail. The look of my daughter as she stepped out of the dressing room so mature in heeled shoes and red lipstick. How my oldest son rushed over to be a part of his sister’s photo session, how much it meant to him to be a part of her day. He reminded me that he had accompanied his brother to that same studio for senior pictures four years ago.
Waves of emotion flooded through me. I’ve had a child with me continuously for twenty-five years. My time is almost at an end. I rejoice for another fledgling leaving the nest, as prepared as I can make her for the journey into the world, but I am mourning as well. My job as primary caregiver, tear wiper, boo-boo kisser, story-teller, homework overseer, peace keeper, and fun counselor is about to end.
It is the most rewarding job I’ve ever held.