Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photo shoot

Years ago, deep in my bachelor wilderness, I had grand daydreams of fatherhood and what I'd be like as a pop. Long story short, you never fantasize about your shortcomings.

I would rule as a Dad. My awesomeness and generosity would know few boundaries. Parents would lobby me for advice. Like a grand pooh bah dispensing favors, I would impart morsels without giving away the secrets that would come so naturally.

Nine months in, I acknowledge that I'm a pretty good dad who still has a lot to learn. It seemed so easy for my parents. I thought it would be a snap to follow their lead and call it my own. But one thing I've learned: It isn't always intuitive to a 38-year-old who has spent much of his life refining the art of selfish pleasure. Time moves fast and you realize -- holy jeepers -- there's much you planned to do but haven't.

Like having professional portraits shot of your pride and joy. We have hard drives full of Hope's every bray, hiccup and smile, but none captured by anyone who knows what they are doing. It seems like a natural and rite of passage: Put your baby in her Sunday finest, trot her out to the studio, wave a lollipop in front of her face and pray for the best.

Somehow, it eluded us.

Fortunately, my brother, Steve, has willed himself into becoming a professional-caliber photographer. Always artistic and the son of an ace shutterbug, Steve somehow taught himself skills in about a year that it's taken others decades to master. This time last year, I was vaguely aware that he bought something called a ''camera." Today, I am in awe.

Steve converted my childhood bedroom into a makeshift studio, complete with multiple flashes, muted backgrounds and umbrella-type doodads whose names elude me. Our 12-year-old nephew, Matt, was his eager assistant, distracting Hopesy with toys, making silly faces and cooing "Work it, baby" as though he had spent a lifetime on the runways of Milan. Hope did the rest.

The session was cut short by a nasty bout of gas, but we think the results are remarkable. I'm lucky to come from such a talented family.

I left this morning from 10 great days in Maine, taking Hope to the coast, showing her sea urchins, dried seaweed and the salty mud of the Atlantic. We ate too much; celebrated my father's 70th birthday with food of the world, beer and an elaborate barbershop quartet performance with my niece, Kate, and nephew; yukked it up with my generous sister, Beth, and her hubby, Rob; ate my aunt Denise's guilty-pleasure Midwestern dip; watched too many bad movies; and bathed in the glow of the people I love the most.

Mo and Hope get to continue the fun for another 10 days. I get to go back to work. I miss them all terribly.

PS: Much more to report on Hope's first big vacation. Hours of video to distill and photos to sort. But once again, she exceeded our expectations and proved herself a trouper and party girl of the highest order.


Sandi @ Life with Jessica said...

Gorgeous photos of Hope! Your brother did an awesome job. Sounds like a wonderful trip (I hope to visit Maine someday!). Look forward to more photos and reading about your trip :-)

Misty said...

Those are great!!!! so damn adorable! i so wish that someone in my family was into photography!!

we just took mason to his first session as well... it was a disaster... we had to go back twice and the only way that we could keep him happy is if he was lying down.... so most of his pics are in the lying down position. we also have a drool pic! the only good family pic, he looks asa though he is about to drop out of my lap...uugghh! as soon as we get them, i will post them. but yeah....the candid smiles we catch at home have been SO MUCH EASIER AND WORTH IT! LOL!

i think those pictures are beautuful and TRULY capture her! the one where she has that little smile and where she is looking off to the side is so precious!! and the one of her pushing up...and... ALL OF THEM! LOL!

Noah said...

Those are beautiful photos of your beautiful daughter! I'm glad you had a great vacation and sorry that you had to go back to work early. Your brother has amazing talent!

Lisa said...

Wow! Love the photos. Don't feel bad - it took us forever to get the "professional" shots as well. Sounds like the trip was fabulous!