That’s why it’s surprising that I was the subject of a shoot in my very own home (without an armed burglar commanding, “Give me all your cash!”)
The reason? A local magazine wanted to publish my essay, “With friends like this, who needs family?” which believe it or not isn’t about the bond between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. It’s about the challenges of living far away from family.
In my essay I reflect back on how when I was sick my mom would soothingly rub my feet, hum a comforting tune, and spoon-feed me homemade chicken noodle soup. It’s about how at 45 years old, I still want mommy.
But instead, living 3000 miles from my parents with a family of my own, my life revolves around my kids. The only time I get noticed is when we run out of Fruit Loops.
So when the magazine editor asked if I would pose for a photo in my home to run with the article I readily agreed. It would be fun for a change to be the subject, and not the photographer urging my kids to pretend to look happy. And it would give me a reason to wear something besides sweatpants and a ponytail.
I didn’t expect that something, however, to be my bathrobe . . .
The editor explained that she wanted the photo to complement my essay. In other words, she wanted me to look “sick.” Now, as a mom of teens I know that “sick” is slang for crazy, cool and insane. But when the editor asked if I had cold medicine, a thermometer and an ice pack at home it stood to reason that she wanted me to look the other kind of sick, as in, not well, ill, gross and disgusting.
A week later, photographer Andy arrived at my doorstep. I greeted him and looked behind him for the crew that wasn’t there.
As he shook my hand, his eyes lit up. “You are so adorable!” he said, looking past me to my dog, Shadow. He reached out to pet her. “This is the cutest dog ever!”
From that moment on, the only time he uttered a phrase that didn’t include the word “Shadow” was when he asked to use the bathroom.
While Andy gushed over my dog, I plunked myself down on the couch and arranged the props: an icepack for my head, a thermometer in my mouth, and a bevy of cold medicine by my side.
With each click of the camera I gained confidence and struck more daring poses—thermometer to the left side, thermometer to the right . . .
Andy frowned and set the camera down. “Ummm . . .is the dog allowed on the couch?” he asked.
“Mmhumm” I nodded.
“I’d like her to sit with you—if that’s okay . . .”
“Hmm?” I raised an eyebrow. Certainly he didn’t intend to photograph my dog. This was MY photo shoot.
“Shadow. I’d like her in the photo with you,” he explained.
My thermometer snapped in two.
He patted the couch next to me. Shadow jumped up and sidled next to me.
“Let’s just angle Shadow’s head a little more towards the camera, shall we?” he, said, and picked up the camera with new enthusiasm. “Perfect!” (Click) He looked into the camera. “I got it!”
“Can I see?” I peeked at the camera. Shadow looked beyond adorable—big puppy dog eyes, head cocked to the side.
I, on the other hand, looked like a rat pulled from a sewer hole.
This photo will get noticed!” Andy exclaimed.
It’ll get noticed all right, I thought, letting out a short moan.
I suddenly wanted my mommy more than ever.
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