My eldest son, Cleveland, knocked out his two front teeth doing gymnastics last week. It was scary; lots of blood and hard to tell what was going on in his mouth. A friend was there so she took my younger son to my mom's and Cleveland and I headed to the emergency room. He was in shock at first and I had to carry him into the hospital. Luckily, there was a TV in the waiting room and that immediately revived him. The doctor told us that he couldn't do anything for us and that we should head to the dentist in the morning, so we headed home. On the way back, Cleveland asked if I had noticed one of the TV commercials where there were 2 skateboarders - one with lace up shoes and the other with velcro. I hadn't, but apparently the velcro guy sailed gracefully, with his skateboard, over the dumpy guy with laces while he was bending over to tie his (stupid) shoes. Another reason that my son does not feel the need to master tying his shoes. This makes me wonder more about the skills we'll lose along the way due to technology. Shoe tying, handwriting. Is it ok? What's lost here and what do we gain in its place?
Then he went on and on about how there were a lot of good things about knocking out his front teeth: an early visit from the tooth fairy (x2), milkshake for dinner, etc. I felt proud of him for being so brave and a little sad that I had not looked at the winning, baby-toothed smile a little more carefully before he walked into gymnastics that day.
me and john doing the photo booth thing
Last weekend, I helped to shoot a wedding with friend and photographer, John Dolan. Our conversations turned to the inevitable: "what is it about a wedding?".
It's a happy event, of course, and there is always tons of joy and beauty but, I think, there are two kinds of beauty. There are the details; lovely clothes, pretty silverware, etc. but there is a second kind of beauty, more complex, even sublime, that has nothing to do with the outsides of the guests and bride and groom. This beauty is all about their insides - a sort of emotional beauty that both heightens and deepens the way that we experience the day.
This second beauty exists in the unspoken knowledge that this event might not have happened if conditions weren't just so - if the bride and groom had never met, if one decided that some little thing about the other person required too much of a sacrifice for the other to make, if, if, if. But yes, yes, yes, they have arrived at the mutual decision to knit their stories together with the official ceremony of marriage and it's perfect. Or almost so. Their pleasure is felt all the more keenly because of those who are perhaps not there in person due to illness or death, but they are there, remembered and honored for their part in bringing these two into the world and together. Their happiness is experienced through the weight of witnessing the fragile lives of some of those who are able to attend. Their joy is perhaps a little tentative, not because of any lack of love, but because this union is a symbol of promise and hopefulness so personal and intimate that even though they are in the presence of family and friends that love them, they feel the vulnerability of their exposed dreams.
So it's more than just a party. And that's what we went there to take pictures of.