Love, Laughter, and Lots of Happy Noise

When I was younger, probably somewhere in that obnoxious petulant early teenage stage, I remember indignantly lamenting to my mom about all the annoying noise some younger kids nearby were making.

I don’t remember where we were or what we were doing that day.  I don’t even recall if these were strangers in public or my own younger siblings at home. I could, really, see it going either way.

What I do remember is her looking me straight in the eye, and with a smirk infused smile and subtle laugh, explaining to me that THIS was HAPPY NOISE and something to be treasured, not annoyed with.  It seemed nothing short of insane to me at the time but I get it now.

As I write this and try to recall more about that childhood conversation I strongly suspect it was my younger siblings I was annoyed with that day – likely playing happily, albeit loudly, in the background of whatever book held my nose that day…but either way it was one of those valuable lessons I’ve taken with me throughout life.  It’s saved my sanity in plenty of doctor’s offices and on long plane rides…and taught me to look at kids with a sense of wonder and let them enthrall me with their curiosity and share in their joyous take on the world and not let a break in the silence of sophisticated adulthood bother me.

With five little ones wanting mom’s attention our video chat to plan out this session was full of this happy noise and while a little chaotic – it left me smiling and thinking about that conversation with my mom so many years ago and looking forward to our in person adventures.

As I told Kim in my initial response to her submission– she had me at wanting pictures of “us having fun, being silly and getting messy.”  Between the buckets of popcorn tossed in the air and decorating doughnuts with candy and playing with Legos and swinging around with Daddy and snuggling with Mom…I think we got all of those bases covered.  And then some.

It’s true that I didn’t know quite what to expect starting this project.  I knew the applications made me cry multiple times and left me wishing I could photograph everyone who wrote to me.

I knew they left my heart full and my mind inspired but I also recognized it’s a different challenge taking words on a page and turning them into real activities, real moments, and real emotions.

And art.

Driving to Kim’s house I was excited to see our ideas come to life but still a little unsure how it would all play out.  When I arrived I felt this overwhelming sense of love and kindness the instant I walked through the front door that I think will stick with me forever.  When I have kids, I kept thinking, I want to be like these parents and be surrounded by such amazing “happy noise”.

The laughter and energy was infectious, the curiosity mesmerizing, and I couldn’t help but pick up a camera and jump right in.

Not since photographing my last wedding reception did taking pictures cause a song to get stuck in my head quite the way it did with this session.  Most impressive to me is that the song wasn’t even played that day…just the words seemed like a soundtrack summary of life in this house with this family.  And, please, someone queue the corn and the cheese because it’s about as sappy as it gets but the truth is it was such a powerful feeling a week later it was still in my head.  It’s faded a bit now but pops right back on every time I glance at these images or think of that morning there is Elton John asking me if I can feel the love.  Yes, Sir, I can; and I hope by looking at these images you can, too.

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