Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Little Angels and the DSANV 2013 Calendar

It's that time of year again, that crazy time when I feel like I have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to make something happen, something I love, but something that manages to somehow fold little daggers of fear into my heart.  Something that every year I say I'm not going to do again, but that melts my heart so completely that I can't possibly imagine not doing it.

It was 5 years ago (FIVE!!!) that I began organizing and putting together the annual wall calendar for the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia.  It's a pretty big project, and I'm a notorious procrastinator, so I do what I learned best in college before my exams - cram (from Dictonary.com: verb: To study hastily for an impending examination).   I am also a bit of an ostritch, digging a hole and burying my head in the sand to keep from hearing something that I don't want to hear, like finding out that a sitting between a selected model and an assigned photographer never took place.  Oh, that always makes me crazy, and I'd much rather have my hands over my ears singing lalalalalala, I can't hear you... than address it in a timely manner.  With 37 models, all necessary to complete the layout of the calendar, this can be a problem.

But somehow, in some crazy, fortuitous way, that rabbit always still pops out.

Although I think I depend on that damn rabbit for doing it's own magic.  One day a rabid skunk is going to pop out of that hat, and bite me right on the butt.

But until then, my hands are firmly clamped over my ears, and the show goes on.

The mother of one of this year's selected models, one of Samantha's beautiful and sweet little friends, asked for Samantha to be a part of her photo shoot, creating an idyllic tea party scene between two little girls.  A fantastic idea!  I arranged for an amazing photographer, and we all agreed on a date, last Friday evening at 7pm.

At 7pm.  Right.  With a stranger taking photographs of my actually-very-camera-shy kid.  Right before bed time.  Being asked to participate in a situation not of her choice, even though she initially seemed excited to have a tea party with her friend.  Did I mention that one of the items on her IEP involves group participation?  Give her a tea party on her turf, on her time, instigated by her any day, but tell her to do it at a particular time and have a stranger photographing the scene? 

No way. 

Immediately, her arms were crossed, and her bottom lip went out.  Not making for a very pretty or interactive scene.  And when her little friend offered her some tea, she threw the cup back towards her.  Omg.  Awwwwwful.  But all we could do was laugh, and hope she'd warm up.  And you know what warmed her up? 

A cupcake, of course. 

But the tea party was pretty much done by that time.  I've got some thinking to do about which shot to use.

Many, many thanks to our amazing photographer, Diana Adams, who has now worked with me for all 5 years on this project, donating her time and expertise.  It was great to actually meet her in person!   

And now on to the next phase...substituting for the missing models (ugh), and creating the layout (which is actually the most fun part for me).  The next few months are the part that reminds me just how much I love doing this, seeing the beautiful photos of the beautiful, chromosomally-enhanced faces of our local Down syndrome population, my smile getting bigger and bigger with each completed page, my excitement growing like a child at Christmas as I reach the grande finale, waiting anxiously for the first proof to return to me from the printer, then the culmination of many months of preparation and creation as the heavy, tightly-packed boxes of the finished labor of love arrive on my doorstep.


Melissa said...

I can't imagine what a big project this is, but I'm so glad you are taking it on again. I've purchased our local Ds calendar, but have never been very impressed with it. I'll still buy ours, but yours is the one that I have up in my office, that everyone comments on!

Lisa said...

wow - that is a big job! sounds like Cate at the photo shoot I made her go too, she refused to participate in a princess dress up party, really from the girl who plays dress up all the time???

Anna Theurer said...

This sounds like a really huge and I mean HUGE project, but it also sounds rather rewarding. I could see where your blog post was going once you said Friday at 7pm:-P It is like the witching hour for all kids. A cupcake would warm me up too :)

Rochelle said...

Can't wait to see it. I am sure it is fabulous!

Lisa Julia Photography said...

I think i would have paid you to let me do a tea party shoot with Sammi and her friend....so awesome! i am sure the calender is going to rock! xoxo

Anonymous said...

You always do such a fabulous job! We appreciate all the time and effort you put in to this!

I can't wait to see Ethan on the back and wonder which picture you chose!