Our wonderful, supportive, accepting church is in the middle of scheduling picture directory appointments for October. You remember those. The day you spiff up the kids and yourself in what is hopefully matching outfits, line everybody up and smile for the patronizing cameraman in the name of matching faces with names on Sunday.
Normally, it's a chance to score a free 8 X 10 and new clothes. But we're not so normal right now.
Somebody is missing.
My sense of logic tells me that in the real scheme of things, this is not a big deal. We all were together in June, and I did get photos of all four of us and some brotherly shots of the boys.
Family is defined less by what we see than what we experience, I tell myself over and over, as if this inner repetition will make me believe it.
The last time we had a formal, posed, tried-and-true family photo session though was five years ago. Wolf was skinny, gap-toothed, yet broadly smiling, almost unrecognizable to today's 6' 2" teenager. Bear was still a baby, held up by his big brother in the last photo we have before leaving South Carolina in 2005.
What I'd like to do is cut and paste a big red arrow next to me on our church photo, with Wolf's picture hovering overhead.
I just might.