My sister and I were close as kids. We lived across the river (literally) from our school friends, and we were often the only playmates the other had. Nevertheless, I knew which buttons to push to get a rise from her, and I was like a churlish child on an elevator for the first time pressing all of them at once, at times, just to see them light up. To my memory, she only paid me back once, when I was six or seven and learning to rollerblade. I fell, and she tried to help me up with her foot…on my back…twice… If this is the worst that I can remember, then I suppose we had a pretty good relationship.
Since we had kids (Claire’s daughter, Brynn on the left, and my son, Kemper on the right), however, we have grown much closer. It may be the newfound maturity on both our parts, but I would like to think that we are just in a better place to be even closer than we were growing up. She is a single parent, and a damn fine one. My dad and I have both taken on the male figure in Brynn’s life, and in many ways I think that this has made me grow up even faster than just having two kids of my own.
I love seeing Kemp, Brynn, and now my daughter Nora, all playing together. Kemp is gentle and kind with both girls, and very protective. Brynn mothers Nora, and Nora adores them both. We had the chance to spend a good chunk of time together in North Carolina over the New Year, and it is the best family vacation that I can remember. Everyone was on their best behavior – even me – and the kids played constantly together. This photograph was taken on a short hike on the property to an amphitheatre that was built for the boys’ camp that existed on the property in its earlier life.
Although I was trying to get Kemp and Brynn to pose for a shot, this one is candid. It perfectly captures Brynn’s childish pleasure at being with the whole family (especially Kemper), and Kemper’s sly amusement at the world itself. I love this shot, and I smile every time it comes up on my photo album that I have playing in my office at all times. Claire and I were close, but I know that we want our kids to be even closer. I think that is, ultimately, what we worked towards growing up without even knowing it.
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