I love storytelling, artistic expression, and my children. I love the challenge of learning a new skill. I love the satisfaction of watching a vision become a reality.
For over a year, I nudged my husband every time it came time to register for Emily Mitchell's legendary Film Workshop. At first I didn't have the right camera, and I needed more practice in manual mode. Then I had just birthed a Baby (#4), and that's a taxing ordeal. Then it was Summer Physical Season at work, when I feel like I am sprinting uphill on a treadmill at top speed with no choice but to keep running or else fly off and splat against the wall behind me, crumpling to the floor buried in a pile of unfinished sports physical forms, referral requests, and prescription refills. Then I had a conference to attend (in Napa. Darn.). Then came Flu Season, which feels the same as Summer Physical Season except the wall behind me is covered with flaming medieval weapons.
Then spring came, and the flu left, and the Baby slept, and the heavens opened up, and the birds sang, and my husband said yes, and after numerous frantic clicks and two horrifying error messages and a website crash, I received an email that I was officially registered for the Spring 2017 Film Workshop.
I met Emily in 2009, long before she was famous for teaching ordinary photography enthusiasts how to make cinematic magic with their DSLR cameras inside their very own homes. Emily and I attended the same church in Tucson, Arizona, but had never met. My husband and I were enjoying newlywedded bliss, but had no married friends, so we asked the pastor if he knew of any other young couples. Eager to help, he printed out a 6 page registry of all married couples in the church between the ages of 20 and 40. He crossed out the divorced ones, the ones with kids (we weren't ready for 7 pm curfews yet), the boring ones, and the oddballs. He then assigned a letter grade to the remaining couples, and Emily Mitchell and her husband received the only A+. We were best friends already, and all I had seen was her contact info.
Over the next 2 years, we attended Sunday School together, joined the 7 pm curfew club, mastered the art of the infant-on-the-knee jiggle, and figured out how to prioritize breast milk production while maintaining rather ridiculous work schedules. Eventually I moved to the southeast corner of the country for residency, and she moved to the northeast corner. Florida trumps Maine in the weather department, for the record.
While she was in Maine, she invented this idea of turning tiny everyday moments into inspiring little visual and auditory treasures. No scripts, no movie sets, no actors. Just a mama with a camera, noticing the beauty in the mundane, the thrill in the ordinary, the value in the here and now.
In 4 short weeks, Emily taught me how to look through my camera lens and weave a story that I will smile about for decades to come. Long after saying "Mama" is no longer a new achievement, and when the memory of "Hey Mommy, watch THIS!" seems like an eternity ago, I will get to relive these moments. Some days my hands feel too full with these 4, but then I look at the scene where I can literally still hold all 4 of them in my arms in the very best "Group huuuuug!" and I can't help but think I never want these days to end.
Please enjoy 4 minutes of my spring with my babies. And turn your volume up!