This might come as a bit of a surprise to people, but my niece Adelynn is the absolute hardest portrait subject I’ve ever had to photograph. Because I’m her aunt, she doesn’t tend to take the time we have together seriously (portrait-wise). She DEFINITELY doesn’t want to sit or stand still long enough for the shutter to click and she doesn’t like being told to smile. Oh, she smiles plenty on a normal day, but the second I hold that camera up to my eye, she stops smiling altogether. These smiles that you see were taken in the last 5 minutes that she was in town–while Bridget and Adam were packing up the car. Luckily, they were A+ smiles…
Usually when I come to visit, it’s for a holiday or a birthday. The weekend typically involves copious amounts of sugar and presents. On this last trip, however, it was for no specific reason. Just a weekend that I decided to come down and see everyone. We celebrated things like a late mother’s day, an early father’s day and my (early) birthday while I was in town, but it was very low-key. I think that for this reason, Addie and I finally had a chance to bond.
Saturday morning she slipped into my bedroom with a box of birthday candles to wake me up. She crawled into bed with me and we watched Clubhouse Mickey while my sister showered and dressed. I rubbed her back and her head for the 30 minutes that the show was on and as the credits rolled, I stopped momentarily to stretch. In those 20 seconds that I stopped rubbing her back, Adelynn put her hand on the small of her back (like I’ve seen my dad do after lifting something heavy) and gave a loud sigh. “Oh, my back, Aunt Colleen.” She moaned as if she had just spent the whole day at the office and all she could use at the moment was a backrub and a brewskie. It was THAT kind of grunt.
Obviously, I had to continue with her backrub after that. We spent the rest of the weekend playing dress-up, tea parties, doing Addie’s and my make up…all those girlie things that you can do with your auntie.
The following week after I had gotten back to NY, my sister sent me an email. She had bought Adelynn a pack of headbands (which comes with 3 to a pack) and upon giving them to Adelynn, Addie set one aside.
“Who’s that for?” My sister asked.
“Aunt Colleen,” she responded as though it was the most idiotic question she’d heard in her life, “because she has fashbon-cents.”
Damn right, kid! Don’t you forget who the “fashbonable” one of the family is!