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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Perfect Moment: A Family Portrait

A camera wouldn't do it justice. A video camera would only be a shallow representation. The perfect moment cannot be captured in any place but your mind.

I had one tonight. It'll be there forever. I had no camera, no videos, and I don't care. It's better in the mind anyway.

I had taken my kids to the park to play while their mommy made dinner. They played, I watched with a smile. They brought in random strangers to be friends in their routines, both adults and children. They used the horseshoe pit at the park as a sandbox, driving toy tractors they had hauled from the house in my oldest daughter's pink bike bag over manufactured hills and valleys.

As I watched them play with a warm smile, my wife unexpectedly came to join us with a stroller used as a dinner cart. Had we been there so long already? She pulled out soup and biscuits and we sat on a blanket. My kids built an imaginary fire by collecting all the loose branches they could into a pile and pretending to strike between one and five matches. We then made s'mores on the fake fire, describing every gooey bit as we stacked them up for each other. When I needed a marshmallow for my stick, my oldest daughter ran to a random point along the fence 50 yards away, grabbed marshmallows, and trotted back, placing the invisible fluff on every minor point she could find on my roasting stick. My younger daughter wanted more substance to her food. She had been begging for service berries from behind the fence. She asked with points and grunts since she is only 14 months old. I was happy to oblige.

No matter how well I describe it, what picture I take, or how you envision it, the full feeling will not be clear to you. It was special because it was us. Mundane yet unique. Simple yet perfect. I was in the park for 3.5 hours and never wanted to leave. I only did because it was the kids' bedtime. Family love can make just about any moment perfect. And for me today, it was an unexpected picnic in the park with the people I couldn't live without surrounding me. There is an underlying power in family. Despite imperfections, moments like this speak of perfection more than any art masterpiece. Yes, despite flaws and problems, a family is a perfect unit.

I will do everything in my power to protect the one entrusted to me.

Walking in the backlit aspen woods with family in Grand Teton National PArk
Not much captures the feeling better than a photo like this, but it
is still a shallow comparison that lacks warmth and love,
especially for those outside my family.

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