Wish You Were Here
We are a group of 23 international photographers. Now in our sophomore year, each week we share an image from a moment in our own personal world as if we are sending virtual postcards to each other. I find the curating to be an extraordinary piece of the art itself; the images take on a life that seem to speak to each other as they flow from one to the next. A visual dialogue. However, the only person who sees our individual images ahead of time is the curator. She makes it downright magical.
Where the Boys Are
A super fun group of boymom photographers gather each month to celebrate raising boys. The stories are often hilarious, touching, adventurous, or inspiring—and always relatable. Co-creator, Monica McNeill penned the project “A Memory Keeping Revolution.” So spectacular. Follow along on our site to immerse yourself in a life of boys.
New this academic year: there are quiet pockets of time when you two do your own thing after school. It’s almost suspiciously silent; my ears perk at the deafening stillness. While there are other (many) additional hushed moments that your duo produces youthful shenanigans, I’m noting this mindful independence and putting it in the household WIN column.
While it took a half dozen summers for you three to hit your stride together, I’m overjoyed to see these snippets of harmony among you. It’s not perfect, but it’s real and it’s all yours.
There was a time not so long ago (maybe this morning) when you (often) found yourself in the throes of misery over being excluded from what your big brothers were doing. They could be mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage or simply sleeping in on a summer’s day, and you’re ruffled if you’re not part of it. Part of them. And so it is worth noting—no, worth celebrating—your beautiful, oxygenated joy at seeing an image of them having a fabulous time without you. That’s growth.
Ice cream helps.
You’re growing up at double-speed now. All those years where days were epochs, and now our world spins so fast I can’t catch seem to catch my breath. At a whopping twelve, I see you simultaneously holding onto to some of your sweet childhood loves while asking for a longer leash with friends. It’s how it is supposed to be. In my attempt to not miss all your nuanced changes in this densely packed pre-teen year, I’m capturing you each week. I could not be any more grateful. Here is 8/52:
I now trust that everything is going to be okay. It took me awhile, but I get it. You lead, I’m here in the shadows if you need back up. Go grow in the light, Love.
With sleeves pushed up and determination at the helm, citrus notes begin to fill the room. A basketball rhythmically strikes the driveway and bike bells chime on the sidewalk. And yet our light chatter about school, comic books, silly jokes has seemingly insulated those cheerful, beckoning outside sounds. Recess football plays layer over zesting, and more “and then!” run on sentences about your day as the remaining recipe steps are checked off. A few treasured minutes later, you dust your hands on the back of your pants and zip out to join brothers and friends.
We should have lemon pie everyday.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” –C.S. Lewis
From window to table, a sliver of pale light travels over strewn icy skate blades, heaped snow pants, wet mittens, and a Lego confetti sprinkled in for good measure—a 5-year-old’s winter obstacle course. These quiet, snow insulated afternoons belong to us. The wind hugs the house. Curly steam rises from the heavy pot. I’m acutely aware of how quickly winter evaporates to spring. Then our sweet summer leads to Kindergarten. And my heart hurts in such an unexpected way. I feel compelled to Get Close. To see the light kiss your eyelashes while you eat warm soup on a cold day.
We’re nearly into the melodic swing of the school year. Early risers, hard workers, and then you bound through the door for chores, snack, homework, and finally play. The homework just feels like ticky-tacky bits of the daily after-school agenda. I want you all tumbling into the yard or up to your elbows in Lego bricks as soon as possible too.
And yet here in this quiet, new routine you have discovered another thread in your relationship. The rally of academic support between you is real.
Before the mountains call to you, before you leave this home
I want to teach your heart to trust, as I will teach my own
But sometimes I will ask the moon where it shined upon you last
And shake my head and laugh and say, “It all went by so fast.”
Dar Williams, “The One Who Knows,” The Beauty in the Rain
Something magical happens each summer. I’m not sure if it’s the late, starry nights brimming with fireflies and owls, the mornings met with soft, bleary-eyes and no agenda, or the sun-drenched, friend-filled hours in between that creates this space for you to grow, mature. No doubt there are moments I’m wistful for rocking you to sleep–your beautiful weight heavy in my arms, your sweet, warm breath on my neck in the wee hours. It all feels so close, so palpable…and yet already a million years ago.
And yet now you empty the dishwasher instead of climbing in it. Onward, kiddo. Onward.
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. – Eckhart Tolle
We swish heavy boots through the remaining inches of winter, our warm chatter dripping off evergreen tips. We don’t concern ourselves with the cocooning icy months behind us, nor with dreaming of kayaking through lazy summer days. While a single robin does give us pause, we mostly search for sticks, tread paths, poke snowy lumps, and hurdle the fallen storm trees. It amazes me how you’re so utterly content with the present, and I yearn to be like you.
Your wild, cacophonous world slows for nothing. Even in rare moments of perceived stillness, I know you’re saving a city, blasting into space, captaining a ship, entering a fierce battle. And without walloping limbs and pirate bellows, I can feel your swirling energy as you lean forward, marinate in the images.
You might have a PhD in Lego adventures.
Snuggly in your warm nest, the storm brews icy flakes against your window. Despite being dog-eared with time and love, you reach for your story, your brothers’ story, our story with the same anticipation as the first time the cover was cracked. You are transported to sandy beaches in your toes, licking strawberry stained fingers, and dancing in the sweet summer rain. You ask a thoughtful question about what was happening, bringing your own experience to the conversation. You spin off a separate, equally delicious story, and come back to the next page. And repeat. For an hour.
And when it’s over, you contemplatively sigh, wanting more, wanting it to go on forever.
Exactly what good books do for all of us.
In a bittersweet poem, cicadas narrate the end of summer through wide open windows. We do not need to glance at a calendar to know we’re just a couple sleeps away from counting down until next summer. And so we will eke out every drop of daylight and chase every remaining firefly and count every star in the warm night sky. I’ll let my busyness wait a couple more days and we’ll picnic under the evergreens together.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Here we are, mid-summer, and thoroughly in the groove of daily life. We wake later than usual, bed-headed, bleary-eyed and stretchy, and make our way to the kitchen for steamy coffee and cold juice. Pajama-clad, you three devour a bag of toasted bagels and plums that taste like July, and then tumble into the sun soaked yard. The day takes on a more programmed life shortly thereafter, and we leave the laziness of summer for tomorrow.