Monday, January 4, 2016

Clutching the Back of His Coat

There's that moment, when the blank page faces me, that I freeze up a little. It hurts, knowing that I have nothing to tell you except old lady ailments and daily irritations. I'm going to have to go back to telling you stories about being a kid in the woods or how I fell in love with Mike.

I remember the moment I realized I loved Mike. He had changed out of work clothes. It's not that he doesn't rock a good suit, but back then, his mom still picked out his clothes, fat ties and all. It was the eighties. Skinny ties were in. Plus, I think that most moms pick clothes never quite being able to get their sweet boy out of their heads and let them grow up. Let's just say that Mike came a long distance when he began to shop for himself.

And then there was the moment after work one day when I saw him in a pair of Levis and a flannel shirt. Oh man. I knew I loved him then.

Or maybe it wasn't that deep an emotion yet. Hmmm.

Okay, so how's the weather out there? Nice? We had slush this morning, enough that school was delayed.

And we finally went out and took our Christmas pictures on New Year's Day last week. I can tell you about that. Yup.

We can't call them Christmas pictures, now, can we? By the time you get yours, it'll be well past New Years too. What the heck do I call them? Midwinter photos? A Snowflake Snapshot?

There was no snow, but as usual, something went awry after we lugged the camera, a tripod, and various and sundry photo gear to a spot that Mike chose. Every year is like this, stuff happens.

One year, the breeze buffeted our hair. That was back when I had good hair and each of us, as Mike previewed the photos had bangs standing straight up. It was a riot looking at them and we laughed so hard I remember my eyes watering.

One year, Mike decided to take the picture in Nick's new play fort which we had decorated to the gills with Frosty and twinkle lights. The problem was that he had trouble getting up the ladder before the flash told us our time was up and popped the photo with Mike still scrambling up the ladder. Those were some great outtakes. Plus, we had to lean way out of the play fort for our faces to show up. It was a little dizzying, leaning out that way and holding onto the back of Nick's little coat as he leaned out too. There's nothing like motherhood to give a girl an adrenaline rush. Adrenaline junkies beware. Motherhood gives you the biggest rush of all, watching that four year old lean out over a fifteen foot drop, arms extended.

Mike took one picture of us clinging to a stump that appeared to be in the middle of the river but had a narrow spit he could run after leaping off the bank where the tripod stood. We had a great time taking turns pressing that timer button and trying to beat it to the stump and get into our spots. It was a muddy adventure that year. I wasn't the only one that skidded down the bank on my butt. Again, the outtakes were a riot.

This year, since Mike hurt his knee - another torn meniscus - I knew we couldn't challenge his leaping skills. Still, I let him decide where to take the picture. He led us to the one lookout where you can see both the Snoqualmie Falls with Mt. Si perfectly poised above it.

It was beautiful. And it was breezy again. This year, gusty wind kept knocking over that little reflective umbrella Mike got a couple of years ago for his linked flash. That thing really makes a difference lighting up our faces, but it's a great foil for three people who are all trying to be in the picture.

Plus, we tried to get Teddy to look at the camera a bunch of times and he kept trying to wander around and face us. A couple of pictures look like he's being choked by whichever person is holding him. He made the cut into our favorite photo but Snapfish could only fit half of his face and we had to use the second-place shot instead. Unfortunately, it cut out all the surrounding ambiance as well. I was blocking the falls with my big head and Mt. Si turned into a white blur that could easily have been a cloud.

There was one phenomenal photo that included both the falls and a clearly delineated Mt. Si, but I had a dorky look on my face, my hat was pulled down too far on my head, Mike's eye was covered by a reflection on his glasses, and Teddy was half out of the picture. Only his butt-end remained visible.

The funny thing was that in each of the photos, all sixteen or seventeen of them, Nick grinned in an oh-so-confident way. He was the only one with his act together, nary a reflection or a dorky look. Maybe it's because he got his braces off last month or that he's on the football team or his grades are coming up. I don't know. That boy has suddenly got it together somehow.

I'm not ready for that yet. It seems like I still have my fist clutching at the back of his coat. At least, in my head, I do.

Thank you for listening, jb

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