I know, I owe a regaling of Marathon Day. You'll find it here soon.
In the meantime, an update of another tale: the school picture saga. I type again, as I did one year ago, with cheeks stiff from tears. And I should not be typing at all because it's nearly 70 degrees out, royal blue sky, brilliant warm sunshine... But it's sort of feels like that inside, too.
Without further ado, here it is (ado will follow, not to worry):
No need for a flotation device this year. Someone might like to tie a rope around my ankle however, and give me a yank or two back down to the planet. Or, could you give me a minute to linger?
I have a habit of commenting that certain pictures are worth a thousand words... and then I go and lay down a thousand more. But if you're reading this, it's likely you're fully aware of that and have your feet up, your coffee cup steaming and full.
This is Addie's smile for me, for her dad, for Cate, for Mrs. Bautista, for Trisha and a few others. Or so I thought. It is the one she hauls out when she feels confident, comfortable, believed in, loved. Truly, it's not for everyone.
I already knew that her aides and her classroom teacher sort of collaborated on picture day. They'd mentioned there was a step stool the kids were to sit on that she wasn't having any of. They sort of shrugged when they told me, as if to say "who knows what kind of picture we'll end up with." There was also hopeful mention of picture retake day. Expectations were not high. I don't think I really had any, in fact.
But on picture day, apparently her team did Addie the great respect of trying, reworking and trying something else. This smile is the smile that someone gets when they aren't deterred by her willful opposition to things. It's the smile one gets when one gives Addie a say and then responds with unwavering faith in her. The smile says "I'm right where I belong and so are you."
So Grandma, clear off the knick knacks and get dusting. There's a hinged double 5x7 frame coming your way, stocked with 2 gorgeous girls. When you look at this frame on your mantel, you'll smell graphite and tempera paints, you'll hear lockers opening and closing, you'll feel the click of a ring binder. And the photos will speak to you in unison - one in a rapid high voice, the other in a synthesized computer-generated voice, "We are contributing members of our own communities called school. Just like you were."