It’s over. The school year is over and summer has begun. They came home full of excitement – not just because school is done which means they can stay up late tonight, but also because they found out who their teacher’s will be in the fall. No disappointed kids in this house! Summer is off to a great start.
Last day of school photo tutorial found here.
Bennett had the kindergarten drive-in at school today. Each kid was required to make a cardboard car (or in Bennett’s case a cardboard plane) and they watched a movie from their vehicle. I love my kids teachers, but I’m pretty sure dumping this project on parents the last week of school is payback for all they had to deal with over the year. It’s the teacher’s last laugh.
This isn’t our first rodeo – Hallie and Hunter made their cardboard cars as well and every time I think this is the worst project ever. Perhaps if they bumped it up a couple weeks and didn’t make it at the end of the school year it might be more enjoyable. But the last week of school, really? There are school programs, recitals, parties, graduation, etc… and you want me to spend time on this?? I should be a better sport. It’s not the end of the world – just poor timing. Then you have to take them to school before it starts and promptly pick them up half way through the day so they can set up the gym for another program…not my favorite.
Each year, I swear I’m going to keep the project in the attic so I can pull it out when the next kid has to do it – but something inside me wants to let each kid decorate their own.
Bennett killed it this year. I had it cut out when he got home from school one day and I gave him some crayons to decorate it. No spray paint – no wrapping it in paper. Nope. Not this year. And you know what, he loved it just the same! Here’s to one more day of school…
He can’t wait to run outside with the big kids. In the meanwhile, he climbs up on the couch and rests on the back of the sofa with some cold milk and watches the excitement play out on the patio. He giggles, he points, he tries to talk – he thinks he’s a part of the fun. Little does he know he’s in the best spot – an air conditioned home – while the kids bake out in the heat! I love watching him watch the kids, such curiosity and excitement.
Every year on this day, I can’t help but think of a special encounter I had 8 years ago.
I agreed to be the back-up photographer for my friend who was delivering a baby who wasn’t expected to live long. I was the back-up photographer and I never imagined that I would actually be called to help. Until I was – just a half hour after he was born. The photographer couldn’t make it and they needed me to shoot photos of their baby’s short mortality.
I had never been asked to be a part of something so special and sacred not to mention personal. I started to shoot the photos. I took some family photos and several baby close-ups – the mother never let go of him and grandparents from both sides were in the room offering their love and support. I thought to excuse myself several times, but they wanted every minute of his life documented and I continued to shoot.
Just a short while later – enveloped in his mothers arms, his dad’s hand on his chest, tears started rolling down his face as he quietly proclaimed the baby had stopped breathing.
The emotions in the room shifted immediately and I was overcome with grief for my friend and tears rolled down my face as I hid behind the camera and shot a few more photos at her request. I could see the hurt in her eyes and the pain she was feeling. I could feel the sadness and grief that hovered over the room.
The family grieved their loss. And then there was a change in the room. I’m not entirely sure what caused the movement but hope filled the room in a way that felt tangible. Yes, sadness existed as well, but hope won out – the hope of seeing their baby once again made everything bearable.
I learned a lot that afternoon in the hospital with my friend. I learned what strength looked like, I also learned what death looked like. Bennett Evans will forever be with me. It was a life-changing moment – happiness and grief and hope all etched in my heart. Happy 8th birthday Bennett.
This afternoon I took these little beauties to Feed My Starving Children, a christian charity that packs/provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. These girls measured ingredients, poured them into bags, then weighed the bags. Then they handed them to me to heat seal the bags and one of them packed them into boxes. We did this until we had filled 16 boxes. Our boxes specifically we’re being sent to the Philippines. It was children feeding children and the girls were excited to be a part of it.
I had never worked with this organization before, but I was impressed with their product and efficient process. Even more, I loved that volunteers of all ages were able to participate. We had a young group – and we didn’t pack as many as some of the other groups, but I saw several kids younger than these girls doing their part to volunteer. I also saw older people, some unable to stand on their own, but they found service sitting, applying labels to the packages.
After our time was complete, they let all the volunteers know that the work we completed in this session would feed 90 children for an entire year. Our girls lit up with excitement knowing they’d played a small role in helping that many kids. It was humbling to say the least. It was a great way to spend our evening amidst the craziness of the school year ending. Looking forward to coming back with some of our family.
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