There’s a picture that hangs in our bedroom of me sitting on our dog in front of my mom’s garden when I was 18 months old. I love that picture. It’s absolutely perfect. So, of course, I would want nothing more than a picture of my son sitting on Barkley in front of a garden. Not mine, obviously, because, well, I don’t have one. But someone’s garden.
So, we set out to do that today. A good friend of mine, Anna Elton, is a photographer, and I’ve loved her work since I started stalking it on Facebook. Seriously. She’s good. (And I can give you her number if you want it.) A few weeks ago, I sent her a picture of the one hanging on my wall and asked if she thought she could help us get something similar. Add to it that Robbie has recently started sitting on Barkley (and, yes, the dog has patiently and dutifully allowed it). I figured it was a recipe for success.
So you know how it went, right? Robbie wanted nothing to do with any of the props Anna brought. Or the dog. Or his father. Really, he just wanted to cling to me. I thought he was never going to let go and explore. Finally, he decided the balloons Anna had were a little interesting and worth some attention. Then he found her grapes. And we were pretty well set. An hour in.
Except for the part where I wanted to duplicate the picture of Calihan and me. Barkley didn’t want to lie down. Robbie didn’t want to sit on him or hug him or kiss him. Things they do every day. Sure, there are shots of Robbie walking Barkley. And probably of Barkley running away from Robbie, leash flopping on the ground as he made his escape. But none of the two of them sitting in front of the elusive garden.
But that’s not Robbie. He’s not a sit-in-front-of-the-garden kid. Actually, he’s not really a sit-anywhere type of kid. Just ask Anna. She chased him all over Minute Man Park – in Lexington and in Concord. He’s into finding adventures and running down paths barefoot just to see where they go. He’s into playing hide-and-seek behind old iron gates and smelling flowers so quickly that you can’t possibly get a picture of it. He’s into finding planes and the moon in the sky and making sure everyone else around him sees them, too.
I can’t wait to get the perfect picture from tonight, even if it’s not what I expected it to be, and hang it right next to my own. And I hope that when he’s a parent, Robbie strives to get the perfect picture of his own child and has the opportunity to relish the realization that his child is his or her own person.