Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Framed

Set up, I tell you.

People, I have been set up, and I'll confess: I never even saw it coming.

The con artists? So clever and crafty that I had nary a clue they'd been quietly scheming against me, much less using me as an unwitting accomplice. Oh, the shame.

For two months, apparently, I've been oblivious to the whispers and handshakes and secret plots being hatched behind my back. But really, this story began unfolding two years ago this very week.

That's when, after months of deliberation, I bit the bullet and scheduled a session with Sugar Photography. Some girl named Jennifer Weintraub showed up at our front door and just... well, hung out with us for a little while.

With a camera at the ready, she immediately won over our wily mupper trio. Carter, not quite three, showed off his very best tricks for this cool new friend. Spencer and Katie, mostly bald and nearly toothless, smiled and drooled on cue.

Jennifer managed to put me at ease in front of the lens, an unprecedented feat, and indulged Trey with some photography talk. By the end of the afternoon, all five of us were thoroughly smitten with the lovely and talented Ms. Weintraub.

I knew I wanted pictures of our kiddos, a snapshot of our life in the autumn of 2005. I had no idea what we were in for.

The pictures? Quite literally, took our collective breath away. And that snapshot grows more valuable, more cherished and more breathtaking as time marches on.

Two years down the road, I'm so sorry to say, I've forgotten all about the sweet little notch at the top of Spencer's right ear... until I look at the photographic results of that afternoon. Then it all comes rushing back to me.

And as if all that weren't enough, we somehow scored this fabulous new friend out of the deal, who just happened to have adorable children the same ages as ours, and a husband who loved music and was a wine distributor.

We couldn't quite believe our luck. Still can't.

At roughly six-month increments since that first session, we've had the enormous privilege of being Sugar subjects. Sometimes, I like to think, we've been cooperative, but more often than not, we've been dificult. Obstinate. Royal pains in the arse.

Someone invariably has a secret double ear infection. Or runs away in the middle of an absolutely perfect photo op. Someone else steadfastly refuses to smile, even when promised lollipops.

Someone (and really, there's no need to name names) has an unfortunate attack of adult-onset acne. You get the picture.

Correction: we do. Doesn't really matter how it all goes down, we get these incredible photographs, these priceless treasures, on the other side of it.

The only problem is that we don't do anything with the pictures. Well, that's not really true: we put them out and prop them up and ooh and aah at them, and smile and nod and defer praise to Jen when we have visitors who invariably ooh and aah at them.

Even though the propped-up pictures are, I cringe at the confession, wrapped in cellophane.

It's not that I don't want to find frames for them. I don't for a minute believe that they're best showcased in plastic wrap. I know they deserve more.

It's just that I'm one of those nincompoops who becomes nearly debilitated by the question: "Ma'am, would you like paper or plastic today? Ma'am? Paper bags, or those of the plastic variety? No, really, either one is fine with me; it's your choice. Ma'am? Ma'am?"

So selecting frames for my gorgeous Sugar pictures? Would require heavy doses of medication. Sigh.

Last week, and I knew it was coming eventually, I got an angry call from Jen, demanding the immediate return of my still-naked portraits.

Oh, fine: I exaggerate for dramatic effect. C'est moi.

Actually, what she said was that she needed some examples to show a potential client. Huge favor. Just for a few days. Would I mind terribly?

I only lied a little when I said no, of course not, keep them as long as you need to. What? You're coming over now? Well, okay...

When Trey came home from work, he took note of the sad and empty spaces our cellophane-clad photos normally occupied, and asked just what in the sam hill had happened. I tried to keep my tone light as I told him that we were being punished for my inability to make decisions.

Jen had promised to return the pictures on Monday, but I hated to sound pushy, so I didn't bring it up when Monday was mostly over.

And anyway, we had a fun night on tap: a get-together with a group of mommy friends. I offered to drive Jen to the restaurant, and the husbands conspired to have dinner at our house and let the kids run amok while they talked of music and wine.

Good times were had by all. At the end of the evening, I dropped Jen off at her dark and quiet house, then made my way back to mine. The light in the muppers' room was off, so I tiptoed into the house, noting that the lamp I usually leave burning in the front room was dimmed, too.

I had nearly reached the kitchen when something inexplicably caught my eye. A flash of black over the mantle. A black corner connected to a... wait. Was that frame there when I left the house a few hours ago? And on the opposite wall...

Just then, Trey peeked 'round the corner, grinned at me and flipped on the lights.

The luminous photo of the muppers at the top of this blog? The one taken on a steamy day at the Arboretum last summer? Now in a gorgeous frame, hung above the fireplace. Ditto the how-did-she-do-that portrait of all five of us that Jen used for our 2006 holiday cards.

And on the opposite wall, a vibrant gallery of my three chickadees from this summer.

This snapshot truly doesn't do it justice, so please accept a standing invitation to come stand in my living room at your earliest convenience, and marvel with me.

And I did marvel, teary-eyed, at Trey's telling of how these stunning frames came to be ours: how he consulted with Jen and Deb on the sly to carefully select them, how Jen contrived that faux favor to get me to relinquish our prints just long enough to ferry them to the framer, and how they'd managed to sneak them back into the house so Trey could hang them before I arrived home.

I was nearly overcome by the Sugar showcase at the front of the house... and then Trey showed me a matched set of my favorite pictures from that very first session, now in beautiful twin frames and hanging over our bed.

That did it: I was a giant puddle. It's just... well, it's two years. The two of us. The two of them. (Don't fret; their big brother has been properly documented, too.)

But of the stacks and stacks of (predominantly unframed) photographs we've acquired in our nearly nineteen years together, I don't think there's ever been a more beautiful and organic illustration that captures how much Trey and I really, genuinely love each other.

How happy we are to be together.

How surprised and blessed and wildly entertained we are by our little family.

Truly, I've never been more grateful to be set up.

11 Comments:

Blogger Big Mama said...

That's just about the sweetest thing I've ever heard. And I'm more than slightly envious of all those photographs.

6:45 AM  
Blogger sarah kate said...

gorgeous! love all of the pictures and especially love seeing ones with you and your sweet (albeit tall) husband in them.

what a wonderful surprise, trey. the. best. ever.

and we are right there with y'all. between the wedding pictures, the engagement pics (which were taken hardly one month before the wedding pics) and our glorious sugar session immediately following the wedding. i too have the cellophane pictures out and propped up.

sigh. maybe for christmas...

6:53 AM  
Blogger SHA said...

That is so sweet that I just want to vomit. And you know I am serious. I am forwarding this post to Mr. Crabapple because, seriously, TreyFranklin makes me want to vomit. And it would be nice if Mr. Crabapple could make me sick like this.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Saint Richard said...

Damn it, Trey! Just when I think I'm sneaking up on you, you go and pull a stunt like this! How am I ever supposed to be the known as the sweet husband in the group, when you pull stunts like this?!

I love the frames above your bed. Very cool.

Miss you guys. Any chance you're coming in for the Texas Tech game?

9:08 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Haha! We got you!!

You remember the day I called and couldn't remember what I called about? This is what it was about! :)

I was looking for Trey but all of the numbers I had led to you even though I was told otherwise!!! I am such a bad liar! They look great! I'm so happy we pulled it all off!

3:08 PM  
Blogger courtney said...

That is so awesome! They look beautiful. Got to love that Jennifer Weintraub!

4:30 PM  
Blogger life with the wisners said...

i mean, i knew i loved NaBloPoMo for a reason.

but this?

franklin. i can't get enough of you posting. can't get enough of it.

and really? do you really want me to comment on *your* talented friend miss weintraub? can't do it. can't put her into words.

and trey...impressive. so impressive. and sneaky. am lovin' it.

6:23 PM  
Blogger SHA said...

To Trey from Anthony:

"Slow down homey....How are you gonna explain this at the next Husbands of the World Unite meeting"

Such a clown, my husband.

8:27 PM  
Blogger anniemcq said...

This made me weep. True, I am a psychotic, pmsing hormonal wreck, but I do believe I'd be weeping even if I weren't. Just. Beautiful.

Love you, Franklin.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Holy frijoles, that's the coolest surprise I have heard. I've got to roadtrip to Dallas and get a photo session in before I leave Texas. Her work is just breathtaking.

And by the way- Justin Roberts is coming to Houston this March!!! It's a fundraiser for our preschool, and I can hook you up= because I'm in with the little people, my preschool peeps. My potty training homies... and then we can sing D-O-G together.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Heroes for Children said...

I was waiting to hear all about this. Deb told me all about it when she accidentally called your house instead of Trey's cell. Good thing she had the "pregnant brain" to use as her excuse as to why all of a sudden she couldn't remember calling you!

Beautiful pictures, beautiful story, and even more beautiful family.

Well done, Trey!

7:55 PM  

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