“One day you’re going to want to remember this moment,” we tell them. The looks on their faces make one thing clear: both the 7-year-old and the 11-year-old think we’re crazy. The 2-year-old just wants to drink his yogurt drink in peace.
We are undaunted. We will get this photo if it kills us (and quite possibly them).
“Please,” we beg. “Just sit there. Just for a minute. No, not even a minute. Just pretend you like each other for a second.”
Their butts hit the seat, and I hit the shutter at rapid speed.
Click. The 7-year-old dives behind the dog.
Click. The 2-year-old holds his Kit-Kat high in the air.
Click. The 11-year-old throws her head back against the couch.
It’s about as candid as you can get. We give up. “Go,” we say. “Go play.”
We don’t have to tell them twice. They run from the room, scattering like kittens from a garden hose.
The mothers collapse. It is what it is, we tell each other. At least we got something real.
After decades of taking photos, you think I’d be used to this by now. There is no convincing small children that this photo you’re making them sit for will one day mean something to them, that it will be hauled out as a reminder of a time when things were a certain way, a way they’ll never be again. All kids know is that they’re being forced to sit extra close to someone who they may or may not particularly like at this moment in time, that there are games to play and foods to eat, and that this photo session is somehow making the adults pay particularly close attention to them at this moment in time.
They’ll pay particularly close attention to the photos one day, though, drinking in the details. The dog long since buried, the clothes of another era, the hair that was once long and luxurious and is no longer. They’ll look, and they’ll be glad someone thought to take a photo so they can remember.
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