I would like to say that this was a candid shot, and that it only took one “take” to get it right. I would like to say that, but I cannot.
I caught my niece Brynn throwing individual leaves in the air to watch them float back to the ground, and I asked her to do it again so that I could get a picture of it. She grabbed a pile of leaves and threw them towards the camera, which, if Kemper had done it, I would have taken as a sign of protest, but Brynn does not have a mean bone in her body; so I just figured a bit of context would be in order. I told her that I wanted to see her having fun throwing leaves into the air, and so this photograph was born.
Brynn is a sweet soul. For Anna and me, she is easy-going and carefree. I know that this is not always the case for Claire, but Brynn is her daughter, and no mother can be so lucky. Claire is a phenomenal mother, and our relationship has grown substantially since the kids were born. Brynn is only a year younger than Kemper, and so they have grown up together. He is very sweet with her, just as she is with him and Nora. She tries to mother Nora, which is fun to watch – as our little nugget weighs just about as much as Brynn.
Brynn has had some health and development issues, but despite these hurdles, she has not lost her love of life. As a working parent, I am not sure how Claire manages to balance her exceptional responsibilities as a principal of a K-8 school with being a full-time, single mother. I am in awe. I would like to think that I could do it if anything were to happen to Anna, but I would lean so very heavily on Claire for guidance, because she has navigated the way so successfully.
I was never close to my cousins growing up. They lived far away, and I regret not knowing them better. I will always remember my cousin Charlie teaching me how to play chess, but I hate that I wasn’t closer with them. I am so happy that Kemper and Nora will grow up with Brynn, and that the three of them will be as thick as thieves. I am also grateful that Claire and I have passed our childhood squabbles into the relationship that we share now. We lean on each other, which is a far cry from the button-pushers we were (well, mostly I was) growing up.
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