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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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Nothing's cuter than a paper hat

Like all parents, I have moments with my kids that I want to freeze forever. It’s interesting, because, for me, they rarely occur during the milestone moments.

Maybe that's because when my sons graduated from preschool or passed their swimming test, I had my camera with me, but the moments that are the most real to me -- the epitome of witnessing a kid being a kid -- are completely random.

Plus, I’m usually not quick enough to document them, other than mentally. Consequently, I have stacks of mental photo albums that are even less organized than the thousands of digital photos waiting patiently on my external hard drive for  my attention.

I had one of these "epitome of a kid being a kid" moments last week. And I was driving, hence taking a photo wasn't an option. So, here I am, fumbling to preserve it through words.

I picked up my sons from school, loaded them into the back seat of the car and started driving toward the grocery store. I heard my younger son unzip his backpack, but didn’t think much of it. About a block later, I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed he was wearing a large, paper "The Cat In The Hat" hat that he made at school.

He was looking out the car window, contently, just rocking his slightly crumpled school-made hat. He had made the decision to retrieve it from his backpack and wear it during this car ride. The thought process touched me the most, but the visual of him came in a close second.

I remembered his paper hats from the past: the pirate hat, the newspaper-folded hat, the police hat. He wore them all with pride and, on some level, believed he was truly a pirate or a policeman while wearing it.

Paper is enough to fuel his imagination. How do I photograph that? I want to capture this; I want it to stay.

"That’s a cool ‘Cat’ hat," I finally said.

"Guess what?" he said. "I made it!"

Talkbacks

devidia | March 29, 2010 at 12:22 p.m. (report)

Paper hats cute on kids? Sure. On adults in the work world, not so much.

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