When Nathan started pre-K last fall, he would ask to take a picture before school almost every morning. Over and over, I brushed off his request. We were usually running late, and there are few things that agitate me more than being late. He never argued my answer, but his shoulders would slump forward as he climbed into his carseat. I’d feel a brief stab of guilt over his disappointment, but that always dissipated whenever we managed to pull in the school lot by 8:30 a.m. on the nose.
One evening, I mentioned the every day picture request to Jon. My husband speaks, moves and acts slowly and deliberately. He is my opposite in almost every way, and while occasionally this makes me grind my teeth in frustration, most days I whisper a prayer of thanks that God helped me find this gentle, thoughtful soul. He’s exactly what I need, and this time was no exception.
“Love, take the picture,” he said. “Ten years from now, would you rather know that you were on time to pre-K every day or have a picture of Nathan from every single day?” My cheeks burned; I knew he was right, and I was mad at myself for once more letting my desire for promptness override enjoying the moment.
For eight months, I took pictures of Nathan whenever he requested them before school. It wasn’t every day – some mornings were too rainy or too cold, and some were simply too grouchy. Eventually Ellie picked up on the fun, too – first demanding to be in the pictures, and then being the one to call for taking them as she bounded out the door. We were late to school far more than we were on time, but I realized actually being late didn’t bother me nearly as much as the fear of being late did.
Jon was wrong about one thing, though: it didn’t take 10 years. We are only a month removed from the end of pre-K, and I already tear up when I look at the 60-odd pictures that I took over the course of the school year.
A whole season of childhood, frozen in time.
Here’s to learning how to put aside my Type-A, get it done quickly personality once in awhile so that I can see the world through their eyes. Because, truth be told, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.