Live the moment. The dishes can wait.
It’s on all my marketing materials. When people read it they often focus on the dishes, the mess, the thought of ketchup-stained plates and coffee-ringed mugs lamenting in the sink, passing silent judgment on them for their laziness. (Or maybe that’s just me that leaves the dishes there long enough for me to start imagining they have grown personalities.)
But the dishes are just a metaphor for responsibility. You know the big “R” word that we like to toss around when we’re adulting. “Oh, I wish I could play like a kid but I have responsibilities.” We wear those big Rs like an embroidered girl scout patch and point to them meaningfully when someone suggests we do something more carefree and, ok, maybe even a little irresponsible.
By all means, wear your girl scout patch with pride – a certain amount of adulting is necessary, especially if you’re a mom or dad – but I’m going to let you into a little secret: responsibility looks very boring in a family photo. And it’s also not very fun.
Now, I know, just because you have clean dishes and your house is picked up, it doesn’t mean you don’t have wild, carefree, laughter-filled moments with your kids. Maybe the only thing that will help you let go and jump into that childlike space is when your to-do list can stop jingling your mental bells like your morning alarm. Or maybe (like me) by the time you’ve done all that stuff, you’re spent and a blanket and a good book is calling you. Whatever you gotta do. Do it. Or don’t do it. And then, like Elsa said: let it go.
That’s what letting the dishes wait means in my sessions: it means do whatever you’ve got to do but then turn off the internal monologue and be present. Be in this moment. Play with your littles. Connect with your partner, look them in the eye. Ok, you may not be able to completely forget the camera is there, but at least ignore it by immersing yourself in familiar rhythms and interactions with the ones you love.
In this daddy-daughter session with Josh and Ava – which finally expanded to a full family shindig – dad swung on swings, flew down slides, sprayed water, and flung mud. Yes, the session ended in a mud fight (that was a first.) Although, somehow, all my sessions seem to land in a similar place by the end: a place where the connection and the play isn’t intentional anymore and where my families are so involved in the moment at hand that they get swept away by it.
That’s how I’ve ended sessions with water fights and cake fights and stick championships and fully-clothed-water-bombs. Do people get messy? Sure! But it’s not the mess – it’s not the dishes – it’s that they fell into a place where it didn’t matter.
And as you’ll see, that’s a very unboring family photo.
Living in the moment – mud fight park date with Josh and Ava
What might “living in the moment” look like for you and your family?
It’s different for everyone. Not everyone wants to end their photo session caked in mud or diving, fully clothed, into the pool. And I uncover what that is for your family by getting to know and your family before our session. But there is a place that is uniquely you, where you too can capture that completely unboring, chock-full-of-emotion, family photo. Get in touch and let’s explore what that is together. I can’t wait to hear from you!
*For those of you who pay attention to such things, I wanted to let you know that the blanket that resembles the American flag is actually not an American flag. Josh is an Iraq war veteran and would never have let a real flag be used in this way, especially falling to the ground.