Tag Archives: Children

The Planes Of Paper

30 Aug

“Here, daddy.” he says with a devilish grin.

“I made you something.”

As I glance down to see what his tiny palm has in store, I see his eyes light up with the type of joy only a five-year old boy possesses.

“Isn’t it the coolest, dad?”  he says with the pitch and fervor of a used car salesman.

There, clutched in-between his fingers, lies a piece of red construction paper. It’s folded with the finest precision of any origami you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Markings of crayola and assorted superhero stickers adorn each and every side as badges of pride and accomplishment.

As he hands his masterpiece to me, he whispers underneath his breath “Now, be VERY careful with this. I have been working super hard, dad.” At this point, his words were gospel. He had been working feverishly for the last hour on this project. And now it was time for him to taste the fruits of his labor.

“Now, repeat after me.” I told him.

Together, we chanted in perfect harmony.

“1…2…3…”

And with that, his gift to me took flight. His finely constructed paper plane glided through the air just as his intentions hoped it would. With each and every crash landing, he would pick up his creation, make adjustments, and pitch it up into the stratosphere of our living room again and again.

In that very moment, I learned something from my son. He wasn’t just showing me how to fly a paper plane. No, he was teaching me something more profound, more intricate than his brain could conceptualize.

You WILL crash and burn. Over and over again. And there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. But unlike that paper plane that will eventually go into the trash can, you have a choice. You can sit there and wallow in your own pity. You can loathe in your own insecurities. Or even worse, make the decision to never set foot on a plane of any kind again.

Or you can choose a different route, a different flight so to speak. You can get up, straighten your edges, and pilot your own plane, your own path.

As the sounds of my son’s laughter fill my ears, I sit down, grab a piece of my son’s coveted construction paper, and begin to construct my own masterpiece. After all, I’ve had my fair share of the crashes. I’ve had enough of the burning. It’s time to take flight once again. And even if I do crash and burn, I’ll have the know-how, the wherewithal to build a brand new plane. And I have the tiniest aeronautical engineer and the most infectious giggle to thank for teaching me just that.

Katie Graduates

4 Apr

Life always come full circle. I know this. I’ve seen it with my very own eyes.

What am I talking like Yoda all the sudden?

Simple.

This last weekend, I had the honor of photographing my high school English teacher’s daughter for her senior portraits. Yes. You read that correctly. I am now that old.

I had a blast photographing Katie and reconnecting with her mother. Her mother, has always been a huge inspiration to me. Whether she wants to be associated with the credit of teaching me the fundamentals of writing or not, she was the one who pushed me to write even when my writing was the absolute shittiest it has ever been. And to this day, I couldn’t even begin to thank her enough.

Anyway, come take a look at what Katie and I got into at Hodge Park in the good old Liberty, Missouri.

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It Seemed Like A Good Idea

16 Feb

All of us awesome editors over at IndieInk recently got together and threw down the gauntlet geeky writer style. What am I talking about? Simple. A challenge. A modern day duel, if you will. We decided to play a little game and challenge each other on the weekly with anonymous writing prompts. Think of it as You Got Served, but with less rhythm and more nerdy white kids.

This week, my writing prompt is, well, challenging.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Okay, so I *wanted* it to be a good idea.”

A challenging writing challenge? Well, I’ll be damned!

****

Underneath this mess, there is pure unadulterated emotion.

But you’ll never know it.

You’ll never catch a glimpse of love, anger, happiness, guilt, elation, or even sadness.

My expressionless face is strong and fiercely robotic.

Or so I’ve been told.

You see, I wasn’t always like this. As a kid, I vividly remember expressing each and every emotion my heart could handle. It came naturally. I wanted the people that surrounded me to know exactly how I felt. If I loved you, I wanted to tell you I loved you. If I was happy, you could hear my laughter from miles and miles away. The simplicity of life allowed my emotions to take control. Logic was no longer a factor. Content with the smile on my face, I allowed myself to just be.

Until he died.

I can still see the frailty of his bones outline his figure as his paper thin skin stretched out across his ravaged body. The chemo and dialysis had taken its toll. As I watched the hospice nurse sit in a chair next to his bed, I knew this was the end.

Struggling to comprehend that each labored breath could be his very last, my ten year old mind broke. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t covey the emotions running haywire through my brain. The direct link between my heart and mind had crumbled. In that moment, I turned cold.

Two days later, he was gone.

What was this pain I felt in every limb of my own body? Why did I want to cry and vomit at the same time? Frantically, I searched for a way to eliminate all that hurt and confused me. I didn’t know how to ask the questions needed to cope. I didn’t know how I should react. Defeated, I just shut down.

It was all I could do. Just shut down every emotion I was used to. Keep everything inside so I could never be hurt again. I never wanted to feel this way. And I would be damned if I would let it happen.

Shutting down seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted desperately for it to be. Hell, I needed it to be. But how do you come back from that? I am 31 years old now. Two decades have passed and I still find myself trapped inside my own mind. Even to this day, if I even so much as find myself thinking of that moment, I completely shut down.

He was still in his bed the last time I saw him. He didn’t even know I was there.

I was just a boy.

A boy, broken by reality.

 

The Day My Life Changed

17 Jan

As the very first cries came from your tiny lips, I found myself lost in you. Up until this point, I had been nervously and anxiously awaiting your arrival for what seemed like an eternity. All of the sudden, you were here in my arms. I could hear your voice, your screams as they alerted my soul to your long-awaited entrance into this world. With my hands trembling, I brushed aside your whimpers with nothing more than a simple stroke of your hair.  Seconds later, you were asleep. A moment in time, frozen in my mind for the rest of my life.

Five years have passed since that cold winter day. I’ve watched you transform into this brilliant, kind, and loving human being. As eager as I am to teach you everything I know, you have been the one to show me all that is right in this world.

In many ways, you are all me. From the way you get frustrated at the smallest of things, to the way you walk, to the way use your hands when you are trying to illustrate your point. But as we are one in the same, we are different as well. You have taught me things that nobody else could ever even possibly do. I watch you interact and love without fear. I watch you make your mother laugh and cry with happiness in the very same moment. I watch you take your sister’s hand and lead her through this world with a passion and devotion like I have never seen. These not so little things seem to be so natural for you. And that warms the inner most part of my soul.

You don’t know it, but as I watch you, I am learning. With each one of your actions, you teach your father the simplest of things he should have already known. I know in the future, you’ll get frustrated with me. You’ll want me to just understand and pick up the simplicity of life the way you do. Just know that I am working on it. I am a slow learner as far a life is concerned. But I know that I’ll get it sooner or later. I have one of the best teachers a man could ask for.

Five years  ago to this very day my life changed for forever. It’s uncanny and heartwarming for me to witness this perfect human being make his way through life. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am.

Happy Birthday, son. I love you more than these words could ever convey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Silence That Torments

4 Jan

The silence in this house screams out the obvious.

I am alone.

Over the years, I thought about what this moment would feel like. Just me. Just me and this old couch. I would fantasize about the silence. I would glorify this very moment over and over in my head, a simple idealized serenity played out in a million daydreams. I’d speed home through rush hour traffic and anxiously count down the seconds while the garage door opened. As my hand turned the knob to the six panel door, I would feel the stillness of the house invade me like a virus. The solitude would invigorate and refresh my soul. Through the silence, I could breath again.

Or so I thought.

No sooner did my worn sneakers cross the threshold, I knew I was wrong. Gone were the scurry of little feet to great me at the door. Gone were the giggles and adoring salutations that coincided with my mere presence on a nightly basis. Gone was that rush of adrenaline that filled my veins as the first “HI DADDY!” graced my ears.

Gone.

I didn’t even make it to the living room before the first tear rolled down my cheek. The silence that I once coveted, now tormented me more than I thought possible. As I sank my body further and further into the couch, my heart began to pound. I could feel the droplets of panic drip from my brow onto the pillow that I clutched like a lifesaver as if I just abandoned ship. There in the darkness, I was alone.

Petrified.

Paralyzed by the unfamiliarity of my self induced solitude, I closed my eyes. This would be my resting spot for the night. The couch that I dreamt about so many times before, now felt like it was made of concrete. For the first time in thirty years, I was alone.

Just me.

Just this couch.

Alone.

Baldwin City v2.0

12 Nov

My second shoot in Baldwin City at the Baker University campus. I had the privilege of photographing a good friend of mine and her beautiful family. Come take a look see at what I saw through my lens.

On to the Flickr Machine!

And the Facebook Machine!

The Baldwin City Adventures

9 Nov

A few weeks ago, I spent a day shooting a few families at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. The campus is absolutely beautiful around this time of year and a wonderful backdrop for family portraits. Come take a gander at what we got into.

Wanna see on Flickr?

How about Facebook?

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