June 2017 Favorites
June is the month I love to hate. It comes at the end of the school year when I am SO burned out, and yet, it doesn't provide a break. All kids home, no elementary school, no preschool, no nursery, and while Geoff is not teaching during the summer, he does lead an undergraduate research program AND go in hard-core on remodeling the house (and he's a total perfectionist about it). I think I get his perfectionism on things he can control, because there is so much about life with kids that you just can't. And so much in his work life, too, that can't be controlled. He's a researcher and professor and studies coral bleaching. Keeping tiny anemones alive in a tank in a lab is not easy work, and if something goes wrong, there are like at least 30 different variables that could be going wrong in maintaining such a delicate environment, and some are not obvious and take time to investigate. And while he's figuring out why they keep dying, these are questions of protocol, not of the primary investigation, and that's got to be frustrating as something I can't type.
But research and papers that take forever to come out, and students to train aside, he's actually doing a great job and just had a magazine article written about him and his student research program and his coral bleaching research. It's important work, and I'm really proud of him. Not just for his accomplishments, but for his tenacity. There aren't enough people studying this urgent situation, and the health of the planet depends on not only understanding, but action. OK, now I'm getting preachy. Seriously, though, he's amazing. And he's also really great at working hard but checking out when it's family time.
When it's family time, he is also all in. Hands-on, playing horsey in the floor, building model rockets, fixing meals while all 3 little ones bop around the kitchen, playing Pokemon, squishing Play-Doh...and he loves it. All of it. Geoff really and truly enjoys being a daddy. I love that our generation is so much more welcoming of men who enjoy being not only fathers, but daddies. Some of my happiest memories are with my parents playing with me when I was little. I remember the day we moved when I was 3 yrs old, exactly the same age Grace was when we moved here. I remember my dad taking my brother and me outside on the stoop and laying me out on a piece of moving paper. It was sunny and hot and windy that day. I squinted into the sun, and he traced me with one of those big chunky crayons we had back in the 80s, an orange one. I remember the sensation of the crayon tracing me. I felt like I was becoming a cartoon. I have done the same thing with my little ones because of that. I'm sure our own kids will bring away happy memories with Geoff, too.
Well, so, this month. It was all day long with all the kids, every day, from breakfast to dinnertime, while Geoff went to work in the mornings, and painstakingly restored what's going to be our playroom, in the afternoons. I made the best I could of it while also trying to give myself a break. From schedules, from people in general, from going, from doing, from playdates, from shooting, from really everything except floating. Floating with the kids, doing only what we needed to do in that day. And while the month was full of bubbles and thrift shopping and going to the pool and playing in the sprinkler and the yard and eating ice cream, organic gardening, housework, trips to the library, our 11th anniversary, going to see The Lion King, trips to the museum, ballet camp, basketball camp, teaching my workshop, and flying across the country twice to shoot for other families, I just don't have a ton of still photos from all this because I just didn't feel like it! There are busy phases of life with three kids, and when we're busy busying, I just don't feel like shooting. Photographers go on vacation too. And necessarily so!
There's a pattern in the universe, of great activity followed by great periods of nothingness. Creativity, too, follows these patterns, else it is not natural.
So this is what I saw (that I captured, just naturally):