April 26

My morning was interesting. I had a terrible night’s sleep (again) and woke up feeling just as lousy as I did when I went to bed. Sore throat. Chest cough. Only this morning I got the added bonus of an allergic reaction to something at some point during the night. My eyes were almost swollen shut. At least the left one. Itchy, red, swollen. I actually sat in bed and cried for two minutes, which only made it worse. So, I got up, put cold water on my face, took my allergy pill–which, by the way, I have been doing daily for the last several months–and stood in a hot shower for a while. It only helped a little. It’s so frustrating because I have no idea what triggered the allergy. I haven’t changed my detergent, my pillows, or anything else on my bed. I had also just washed everything a few days prior. All I can think is that I must have my body worn down to the point where I’m overly sensitive to something. Maybe it’s my down pillows.

However, my tears this morning were mostly triggered by the fact that I had planned to go with my daughter to a college visit and at that point, I could literally see my own eye out of the corner of my eye. That’s how puffy they were. I didn’t want to drive that way. I also hated the idea of meeting people while looking like I had been in a fight. But I sucked it up. A couple of ice cubes helped a little with the swelling and a liberal dose of makeup camouflaged the redness a bit. And my daughter decided to drive, which was good and bad. Her car is so much smaller than mine. As we backed out of the driveway, I swear I looked eye to eye with a robin sitting in the yard.

At any rate, I’m thankful I was able to go. We had a great time chatting on the way there. And the college presentation was extremely interesting. She’s checking out SCAD (Savannah College of Arts and Design). It’s a school totally devoted to the arts, and she wants to go into animation. It could be a good fit for her; she’s very artistic. Actually, by the end of the presentation, the dormant artist in me was ready to sign up as well.  And later, on the way home, we stopped and did a little shopping. I’m glad I didn’t let my morning dictate my day. It was a good day, puffy eyes, sore throat and all.

March 9

I am not a great picture taking person. I never have been. I’m the type who shows up at special events and thinks, oh, crap! I should have brought my camera! There have been countless functions over the years–school plays, musicals, sporting events–where I sat watching all the other parents vying for the good camera shots while I sat empty handed, expecting someone to come take my mom card away from me. (Although driving a mini-van probably ensures that can’t happen.) I’m not sure why taking pictures has never been a priority. I actually really love good photos. Maybe I’m just lazy. Even now I rarely remember to take photos with my phone camera when I should. But I’ve also never been the type to fill my home with family photos either. In my house now, I have only four framed photos: one of my kids from a couple years ago, a small one of me and my sisters when we were kids, a rather large black and white of my great-grandfather holding a cigarette (it’s just really cool), and one of me that was taken by a photographer friend who won a national award with the print. (You can’t really tell it’s me, so I don’t feel too vain with having it up.) Although I usually have a couple pictures on my fridge. Right now there’s one of my parents and one of my mom and sisters.

So I got to thinking a few months ago that I should have good pictures taken of me and my kids before they move out. I hired an artist friend who recently got into photography, someone I have known for years. She is super creative, and I knew she would find an unusual backdrop and some non-standard poses for us. We ended up going to another artist’s studio. He works with found/industrial elements and had several areas for us to use. We brought a change of clothes and spent a couple of hours feeling like models and having a blast. In one series of shots, the three of us sat in rubber chairs that had come out of a mental institution (I wanted one). In another we sat on a workbench in formal gowns. In yet another we stood in front of shelves of found junk, posing with pieces that seemed meaningful to us. When I finally got the proofs back, it took me forever to narrow down the ones I wanted to buy. If money were no object, I would have gotten them all. My daughters are beautiful and so photogenic. However, there was one particular picture that all three of us immediately chose as our favorite. The irony of it is that we weren’t posing in it at all. We are laughing together, a moment in-between the poses that the photographer simply captured with us unaware. It’s the perfect embodiment of my relationship with my kids…such joy. It was the first print I decided to order for the wall–in a large canvas. It arrived this weekend.  I’m so thankful I decided to have the photo shoot and can’t wait to add this picture to the wall.