It’s funny that I have been a Professional Photographer for 18 years but still when we went to get our family pictures updated (after a considerable hiatus dare I say) a few weeks ago I suddenly realized what everyone else goes through when they are on the other side the lens! What an eyeopener. I will cover preparing for a family shoot in another post but today as I am busy editing lots of senior sessions another thing dawned on me. Another “Aha” moment.
This Fall we took our oldest Son Kyle to College at Concordia University in Wisconsin . A 2 1/2 hour drive away from Naperville. Far enough for him to have his independence but close enough for spontaneous weekend trips home. I have known that Kyle would be going away to College for some time and had thought that I had mentally prepared myself for what was to come.
The week before we left for College was a haze of trips to Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Office Max to get one more of this and that and the other, essentials for life out there in the big bad world. The drop off day went by in a flash as we packed and unpacked, set up the dorm room, met the roommates, explored the campus and checked that Kyle was OK before we set off back to Naperville. I was excited for this next stage in both of our lives but what I hadn’t prepared for was how I would feel when it was all said and done. My little boy was now a college freshman, where did all of those years go?
That little boy who I saw every day for the last eighteen years wasn’t going to be at home tonight in his messy bedroom. That little boy who loved to aggravate his sister wasn’t going to be home tonight to argue who was going to take the car and who would have to hitch a ride. That little boy who dictated what we were going to have for dinner because of his dairy allergies was not going to be there tonight. That little boy was now a College kid and wasn’t coming home with me. I have to say that there were tears. I thought I would take it all in my stride, I was wrong.
Coming home it was the little things I missed. Kyle wasn’t there to ask me for advice or money or to say I love you before he left for the evening. I so looked forward to his first weekend back from College so that we could be that Johnson Family again, whole, complete. I built it up in my mind, how wonderful it would be. It was of course great to have him home but naturally he was also interested in going to meet his friends, catch up with his buds and for Mom to squeeze in some laundry if possible. Things will never be the same. He’s grown up, he has his own life. I accept that.
I cherish the photographs of Kyle as a baby and every stage in-between to his senior portrait which sits prominently in our living room, above my desk and in my studio (yes, I have many) and brings a smile to my face every day. My sweet boy is becoming a man and I am proud to be his Mama. That my friends is the power of the senior portrait. I have read that they are sometimes called “visual hugs” because just like a hug they can leave you with a warm feeling every time you experience them. They do for me. I guess that is why this year in particular I am loving every senior session that I do. I am very keenly aware of the importance of creating something wonderful for every family who will shortly go through these same experiences and emotions. I adore our recent family photographs because they capture us as that close family we were before Kyle went to college, something I want to remember forever. These photographs help the distance seem closer and the time shorter.
If you are reading this you might realize that senior portraits are for YOU mom, not the senior. You will want to remember these moments, don’t regret not having that visual hug to help you through. With my only daughter graduating High School this year, I think I am going to need a ton more!
I know the mom of this handsome senior Nick from Indianapolis is going to be going through the same set of emotions soon. How could she not. Nick is one gorgeous boy. Not to mention that he is the sweetest boy ever.
Nick, his Mom Kelli and I had a great time in Chicago shooting his senior session. We battled disgruntled security guards, the threat of rain and impatient cab drivers. The stories go on and on but it was all well worth the final outcome. Nick’s session is one of my favorites.
Seriously! Look at this gorgeous guy! When I say that he is just as gorgeous on the inside I truly mean it.
Future model? Maybe…
See you soon,