As soon as my shutter clicked, I knew it was going to be one of those photos – the kind that records a moment that forever marks a life. It would be a photo that would take my breath away for years to come.
On his own he walked to a little nearby restaurant, overcame language barriers and ordered dinner for our family. I caught up to him sipping his Sprite and looking out at the dusty Chinese road. It was his first time to do something independently of his parents in a foreign country. Things like that mark you. When I took the photo I told him he would forever look back and remember this experience. He laughed at me and told me he would forget, but I wouldn’t.
Maybe he will forget. He might forget the details and even the moment, but something changed in him and there is no going back.
This trip is changing him.
It is a strange season as a parent. I am no longer taking pictures of a little guy running around in a costume and wondering what kind of boy he will be one day. This season I am getting a clearer picture of the man he is becoming. Sitting at that little table in a Chinese restaurant was not the 13 year old that boarded a plane in Oklahoma 3 weeks ago. Sitting in that restaurant was a confident young man ready for adventures of his own.
I sure hope one day he invites me to tag along. I’ll buy his dinner and Sprite.