How a Photograph Changed My Perspective

I’ve had a challenging week with my 4yo son.

He’s gone through a series of big-boy milestones recently, and I’m thinking that maybe they all came crashing down on him this week, causing him to revert to the tantrums and mischief of his toddler years.

First of all, we removed the doorknob protectors from the inside of his room, trusting that he understood the rules and would not get out of bed at bedtime – or the middle of the night. He was so good about it for the first week. This week? He’s been coming out of his room at bedtime, and Monday night I had a 1am wake-up with him cruising through our house at the wee hours.

Also, he finally – finally! – seemed to embrace potty training and was acting like a total pro at home, at the store, at preschool. He was even waking up dry. It was like POOF! let’s do this thing! But this week? He refuses to wear underwear or use the potty. He isn’t even swayed by the container of treats I bought to reward him – “I don’t want those” is all he tells me.

And to top it off, he’s been sick. Nothing serious, but enough of a cough and cold to not want to put him in a small room with his preschool friends. So there’s been no break for me or him, and coupled with his attitude changes, this cold has put everything off-kilter.

It’s just been one of those weeks.

And then I saw some photos posted on my sister’s Facebook wall from her wedding in San Francisco last month.

My husband and I traveled with our 4yo to the wedding, and Eli really hammed it up during the wedding reception, dancing like a goof ball and charming a lot of attendees.

Apparently during the festivities, the wedding photographer (and a friend of my sister’s and mine from high school!), Liane Dimond, captured these two moments of my son:

eli taking a break at wedding watermarkedeli on dance floor watermarked

The first one made me laugh SO HARD. Clearly he’s taking a break from the dancing, the noise, the schmoozing, and do you see my iPhone in his hand there? He seems to be having a very “grown up” moment, and I think it’s hilarious!

The second photo is a great capture of Eli’s true spirit – thoughtful and engaged, and in this case also resting from having enjoyed himself to the fullest.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for these pictures.

Sometimes I feel like Eli and I are thisclose, and it’s hard for me to really see him. All I can see are the tears and the tantrums and the demands and the refusals and the way he knows what buttons to push and how to push them.

But it’s a VERY rare treat when I am able to step back and not be involved, but to see him through someone else’s eyes. And these two photographs in particular came at the perfect time for me – a time when I really needed to see my son in another light and remember all the fun and lovable things about him.

It really hit me yesterday how photographs have the power to change our perspective, and I’m grateful for Liane and her talent and time, and for all those photographers that share such a gift with the rest of us.