Monday, February 19, 2007

Aloha day

Saturday was an "aloha" kind of day. Bud had a great time at Carla's Hawaiian-themed birthday party, and I could just leave the story there - "He had a great time." But, really, it was so much more than just a great time. It was aloha.

According to Wikipedia,
The word aloha derives from the Hawaiian words alo, meaning "presence," "front," "face," or "share"; and ha, meaning "breath of life" or "essence of life."... Over the decades the word aloha has been used in reference to a complex state of mind called the Aloha Spirit or sense of aloha. The Aloha Spirit is often described as a sense of care and hospitality to those around as well as respect for their personhood, even in the face of stressful environments, occasions or people.

Bud negotiated the crowded party beautifully, connecting with children and separating from them as he needed - eating pizza with his friends, but standing at the counter instead of crowding around the table; joining the hula activity by taking pictures with his digital camera instead of dancing; stepping into the kitchen when the living room got too busy, and into the living room when the kitchen got too busy.

Bud's friends were terrific. They engaged with him but gave him space, having already figured out that they will be most successful if they initiate brief, concrete opportunities for interaction - "Bud, will you take my picture?"; "Bud, can I take your picture?"

Carla herself was remarkable. Despite the fact that it was her day to be center of attention, she went out of her way to make Bud feel special, too. She chose his present to open first, and ooh-ed and aah-ed with the other girls about the Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet Shop toys inside. Later, when everyone moved into the kitchen for cake, she sought us out and said to me "I really like the present Bud gave me."

"I'm so glad," I said. "Bud picked it out himself."

"He's a really good present-picker," she said. Then she walked past me and over to where Bud was taking pictures, and said "You're a really good present-picker, Bud."

"Yeah!" he said from behind the camera.

As the party was wrapping up, I had a chance to chat for a minute with Carla's mom, who, it turns out, is an as-yet-unpublished writer working on her MFA in creative writing. We discovered quickly that we have a mutual writer-friend. She told me about a book that she thought might interest me. And she explained that she's in the process of opening a "writer's studio," the plans for which are still evolving - perhaps a writer's workshop series, some seminars and writing groups, a space for people to come and write in a conducive environment. Perhaps, in other words, exactly what I might be looking for.

A short time later, with ten minutes to go before the party's scheduled end, Bud came to me and said "It's time to go home now." I told him we could go, but that we'd need to say "thank you" to Carla first. Bud walked directly to Carla and said, "Thank you, Carla. I had a great time at the party." I explained to the room that it was time for us to go, and we exited to a chorus of "Bye, Bud!"

As we pulled out of Carla's driveway, I asked Bud, as I often do, if he'd had a hard day or an easy day, and without hesitation he replied that the day had been easy.

When we got home from the party, I downloaded the pictures from Bud's camera. I found a number that captured the spirit of Carla's party as I experienced it.

But there was another series of pictures that Bud took at the party - a series striking in its artistry, capturing aspects of the party that only Bud saw, that only Bud appreciated, with imagery that simply takes my breath away.



Joker The Lurcher said...

i love his pictures! my son was fascinated with light when he was small (still is to some degree) and seemed to get something extra out of it like you would from sitting by a warm fire. when he could explain he said he saw other colours over and above what we saw. his photos were often of light or shade like these ones of bud's. i'm so pleased bud manages parties - we never got in the hang of it and have avoided them for a few years now.

Mommyof3 said...

And aloha it is! I am glad it was a wonderful day on all accounts. We enjoyed the pictures as well.

lisa said...

Hooray for Bud and all of Bud's cool friends!! He navigated that party the way he needed to and came away pleased with himself. Who could ask for more? You possibly finding a writer's group is icing on the cake.

My two boys have stated clearly that they do not want to go to any Mardi Gras parades, Thomas said very clearly that they are "too loud". I'll admit I'm having a harder time respecting their decisions than I thought I would. Mardi gras parades are a sensory blitz - noises, lights, sirens and trajectories! I have to keep reminding myself that it's o.k. to not want to be a part of that fracas.

Anonymous said...

I'm coming out of lurkdom again to comment on these pictures. How amazing. My son Luca is fascinated by contrasts of light and shadows, and these pictures really capture how mesmerizing these images are through a child's eyes. Really beautiful and so revealing. Thanks for posting and it's great that Bud had such a great time at the party.

Eithne & Luca

kristina said...

There are more than a few frames of light in this post---what a lovely party! (for all)

bubandpie said...

Those photos brought tears to my eyes. Amazing that a camera could be such a window into Bud's mind.

VTBudFan said...

So beautiful. All of it. Bud's pictures, Bud's success, Bud's friends, your writing. Thank you for sharing all of this, all that you write.

Love, VTBudFan

gretchen said...

MOM, you give Bud such a voice by giving him a camera. I continue to learn from you both.

Aloha and awesome!

neil said...

Looks like Bud has the best friends ever and what a great eye for detail he's got. You must be so proud.

Daisy said...

This post has two fantastic themes: Bud's perspective (lovely) and your connections with Carla's mom. This party was simply meant to happen -- for both of you!!

Liesel Elliott said...

Ah, you truly were embraced by the Aloha Spirit. I love the special connection that Bud's friends have with him. It's everything you hope for isn't it? To be accepted and supported by your friends.

Bud has an observant eye for detail and contrast that is disarming in a child. Good for you for encouraging his photography. And thank you so much for sharing his photos with us.

Anonymous said...

Our exchange student from South Africa was so engaged with taking photos like that. I would take him to scenic spots in the city, and he would take a photo of a bench or a light standard. I guess it's the true sign of an artist to see what others don't and make it something intriguing. Well done to Bud!

kirsten said...

WOW. I'm so glad he did so well - and what AMAZING pictures!
once again, YAY, BUD!

Mike said...

I have been thinking about the party since you first memtioned it. I am so glad Bud had a good time. His little friends sound like a nice bunch to be around as well.

Go Bud.

bubandpie said...

Hey, I just nominated you for an award/tagged you for a meme. Feel free to ignore if it's not your thing, okay?

andrea from the fishbowl said...

Have surfed over here from Bub & Pie just now... I just wanted to chime in about those photos of Bud's. They are spectacular and genuine. A real treasure! It's so interesting to view the world through someone else's eyes for a moment. But then again, perhaps that's ultimately what blogging is all about?

Club 166 said...

Great party, great pics, and great friends.

What else could you ask for?

What great memories to have.

kyra said...

OH MY!!! SUCH LUSCIOUSNESS! i am feasting, positively feasting, on bud's photographs! and i am dancing the hula over here! so so wonderful to hear of the great success and connections on all levels.

aloha right back to you, NOS family.

NotSoSage said...

Here from B&P's...I am amazed at Bub's vision and at his friends' understanding. So, was it an easy day or a hard day for you?

Erin said...

Bud has quite the eye! He seems to have a natural talent for photography! I wish I could take pictures that well!

"Rules" was an excellent book!

Professor said...

Wow, I'm breathless. Wow.

girl said...

That is amazing. Sounds like you were dealing with mature adults, not kids. Hooray.