Let’s face it, I’m not a big crier, at least in public. It’s not that I don’t have any emotions (just ask Jay–I got plenty of them!), it’s just that I’m usually more private about them.
Which is why I don’t usually cry at weddings. It’s not that I don’t recognize the significance and wonder of the event–the story of two people coming together with their families–because I do. And I really love documenting all the feelings and emotions of everyone else. I just don’t usually cry myself. Of course, there have been exceptions–some vows are extremely personal, and it’s breathtaking to hear them pronounced. Or sometimes I get caught up in the feelings of a dad giving his daughter away, and I shed a tear or two myself. But for the most part, I’m really just happy to be photographing the great moments and capturing the memories for everyone else to enjoy.
But I do have one weakness that gets me nearly every time–old people. Specifically, old people in love.
I don’t know what it is about seeing two old hands pressed together, two bowed heads held close, and two tired bodies dancing slowly together that gets me, but it does. Maybe it’s because I think about all the experiences those two lovers have gone through together–the good times and the bad, the arguments and the forgiveness that must have followed them. I think about what it takes to stick together for 50 years and still be enamored by that other person. I think about the patience and the compromises, the respect, and the love they must share for one another.
And I get goosebumps and a lump starts to form in my throat as I click, click, click.
I think about how I want that to be me and Jay in 50 years. And I sometimes pray in that moment we’ll live that long and make it that far–that we’ll still have that kind of love long, long down the road of life.
I know in my heart that those old people aren’t perfect. They’ve had their share of mistakes and unthoughtful words and actions. But they’ve survived and flourished. They’ve learned to forgive and go on.
They more than anyone else understand an important truth–that life is truly short–and they decided to make the most of the time they have together. And I can’t help but cry.