It’s hard sometimes to believe that we’ve been doing this for the past 16 years.
Pressing pause and pulling these old jackets out of the hall closet for our annual photographs (AKA: bribing our kids with ice cream in exchange for a picture).
As homeschoolers, we don’t have annual school pictures to help us mark time. So some 16 years ago, we made up our own tradition.
On the suggestion of a friend, we chose an adult-sized piece of clothing for each of our kids to wear for an annual photograph. Each year we would stage the same picture until someday (in the far distant future), the clothing would fit.
Deeply sentimental at heart, I loved the idea immediately.
One picture a year? We could manage that.
So we chose Pete’s old leather jacket for Sage and my Grandmother’s for Lupine, propped them up and took a few snaps.
We fell in love with this tradition immediately and we’ve done it every autumn since.
And from a beginning as seated, chubby, pink one-year-olds draped in heavy coats, we’ve moved on. They’ve grown up.
And today, both coats nearly fit.
When they were small we bribed them with ice cream, to sit still long enough for a photo. It was the one thing I did just for me, the one time I bribed them with refined sugar all year.
And it was always worth it.
We still make a habit of the ice cream (how could we not?) but somehow–after more than a decade–it has stopped feeling like a bribe, and now feels like more of a celebration.
A celebration of autumn, of childhood, of growing, of becoming.
Yesterday we set off for the creek and captured this year’s edition of the jacket pictures.
Sitting here, with sixteen years worth of photographs spread out in my lap, I am thumbing through time as it unrelentingly spools out before me. Time is a marvelous and disorienting thing.
Hang onto your heart, parents.
This growing up before your eyes business is no joke. It’s humbling, inspiring, and so much more than most of us imagined when we decided to have “a baby”. Because it’s not a baby we had after all.
It was adults we were raising, from the start.