Saturday, March 3, 2012

Head Shots

Glamour shots are apparently not called glamour shots anymore.  Because when I was surfing around online trying to get some inspiration for how to take these photos for K's invitation, 'glamour shots' only led me to some horrid 80's photos with ginormous hair.  So, these are apparently called head shots now.  I've got to get with the times.

These pictures were surprisingly fun to take.  Mainly because neither of us knew what we were doing.  I would tell K to look intense, or fierce, or scared.  She'd say, "I don't know how to look intense!" and then make some odd expression which would make me laugh.  She'd run over to see the shot and then we'd both be laughing.  This happened over and over again as I tried to get the perfect look.  A look which I didn't quite have an image of in my mind, but I knew that I would recognize it when I saw it.
Like this.  Determined.  Tough
Vigilant.  Cautious.
Scared.  Shocked.
And here we are with intense.
And yes, fierce.  She figured out how to look that way, after all.  Of course, the machete helps with that, too.
Oh, and the wind in the hair shots were their own kind of fun.  We made S come outside and hold a fan up.  Sometimes she got a little too close and my picture would mostly be fan, with just a little of K behind it.  At first S was grumpy about her assigned chore.  But before long we were all laughing at the craziness of it and the odd faces K would make.  I'm sure the neighbors thought we were really crazy.  We were in the front yard, naturally.  Had to follow the good light.  Ah, good times with my girlies.  High drama at its best.  With way too many photos to help us remember.

But speaking of drama, we had a little teenage drama here the other night.  K emerged from the bathroom in tears.  I felt bad that I had gotten huffy at her just before this because she was acting somewhat ungrateful for the running clothes her dad had just bought for her.  Because he couldn't keep the little detail about them being boys clothes to himself.  Of course it doesn't matter, track pants are track pants.  But she is in that precarious place where she must find the difference between her self-esteem and the esteem of others.  This is where she learns that her worth has nothing to do with what others think of her.  That it's ok for her not to look like, act like, be like the crowd.  That she is beautiful, inside and out, no matter what she wears.

But as we sat and talked with her, we realized that the track pants were only the pebble that started the landslide.  Track is hard.  And it hurts when she runs.  And we realized that this is the first thing she has ever done in her life that is truly hard for her.  Of course she has put lots of time and effort into a variety of things.  But none of them have been tough like this.  It's never been hard for her to get good grades.  It wasn't a struggle to learn to play the clarinet.  She put in a lot of hours with swimming, but it wasn't TOUGH.  Not like track is TOUGH. 

I think this is where some parents choose the easy route.  Because it is heart wrenching to see your child struggling, and in pain.  And the easy out would just be to let her quit.  But as hard as it is to watch her struggle with this, it is more important for us to teach her to go the distance.  To tough it out.  To move through these obstacles.  And emerge victorious.  Victorious not because she has miraculously morphed into a track star, but because she triumphed over all those nagging doubts & insecurities; all those aches & pains.

She hasn't yet learned how strong she is.  She hasn't discovered that bottomless well of willpower that lies somewhere deep within her.  She doesn't know that she is tougher than her pain and her doubts.  That she is stronger than her muscles and joints.  She has yet to discover these things.  And the only way for her to do that is to stick with the tough stuff.
I want this girl's teenage years to be filled with beauty, laughter, friendship, and love.  But I also want her to experience doubt, pain, heartache, and fatigue.  I don't want everything to be easy for her.  I want her to grow and stretch and feel uncomfortable and get to that point where she starts to think that maybe she CAN'T do something.  Because that is when she will discover her strength; discover that she can rise above it and still move forward.

I love this girl.  And I know she is strong.  I can see the strength as it lies dormant within her, waiting for the storms of life to awaken it.  And I will be here with this family, surrounding her, ready to buoy her up just in case the flood waters get too deep.
 And sometimes, we will make her brownies so that she can see AND taste just how much love surrounds her.

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