This part of the File is dedicated to featuring some great work by Lindsay Henderson Edward of LuLuEdward Photography. Her work has inspired some of the greatest feedback about Forney File to date. This month, she sent us several photos that addressed the topic of freedom. She asked me, “sometimes I wonder what freedoms people surrender just by maintaining their daily lives?” After you graduate from college, start working, planning out life, and committing to responsibilities, it starts to seem like time is never your own. What would you do if your time wasn’t committed to your spouse, job, kids or pets? Read her explanation for her photo choice this month and stay tuned for more of her work in the next File…

Jacobs lad 2 Jacobs lad 3 jacobs lad

“I’m going to be in the school talent show.”

I had just gotten them off the bus. The boys had come running down the steps, big grins on their faces, wrapping their arms around my legs. They giggled, running up to the house, giant backpacks masking their tiny frames as I walked behind them. We’d barely made it inside before the announcement was made, and it took my breath away in an instant.

“I’m going to be in the school talent show.”

You’d have thought my oldest had announced he had just lost a limb, but there I stood, stunned and speechless. Pulling out a ratty loop of yard from his hoodie pocket, my oldest proceeded to make the eiffel tower as he explained that he’d be performing various string tricks in the school talent show. If he were 30, I’d think he was delivering the best deadpan joke I’d heard all day. No joke here. My 6 year-old son fully intended to stand on stage for his school’s talent show and wriggle his fingers around to create “the rug,” “kitty whiskers,” and “jacob’s ladder” and I fully intended to crawl under the kitchen table and die.

I’m under no illusion that I am able to single-handedly shelter my sweet children from every potential hurdle. They’ve scraped their knees, busted open a chin that required an ER visit, and even chipped a tooth that had to be surgically removed. These events played out with almost no hysteria on my part, and plenty of calm reassurance that they’d have a “sweet scar” to show for it…which had me puzzling: Why was I so horrified, (and quite amused) that my son wanted to perform an interesting talent he had worked hard to master? A number of justifications conveniently popped into my head. “It’ll be hard for the audience to see what he’s doing. What if he forgets how to do the tea cup? What if he gets stage fright? And worst of all, what if everyone thinks it’s lame?” The next series of thoughts hit me with such peaceful clarity, I had to sit down and laugh at myself. “He’s 6. Your kid is 6, and he loves those stupid yarn tricks. He has mastered more in a day than you could begin to figure out in a month. That little sponge of a brain in there has sucked up every bit of this fun process, and he feels darn good about what he has accomplished. Set aside your fear, and support his desire.”

The irony of age. My kids look at all my so-called freedoms as an adult, and grumble about wishing for the day they could eat in the living room, and stay up late. I look at their sweet, eager faces, and ache to regain their level of wonder, of infinite possibilities, and limitless potential. That silly little wad of green yarn put a new idea in my head. If I set aside the fear of doing it wrong, or messing it up, what freedom would I unleash to create? What new skill could I master? What relationship could I strengthen if I set aside the justifications of practicality and just tried? What would I do if I weren’t afraid?