We have been planning our family portraits with Jenn Hopkins for a few months now. I took time to plan out what we would each wear. I scoured Pinterest for props and pose ideas (which were not necessary at all with Jenn…). I was determined to make these our best family photos yet.
And then, I ruined it last Tuesday.
One morning, I was having major technology issues in my classroom, and while we waited for tech support to arrive, my students and I were just chatting and hanging out for a few minutes together. A group of girls were all bent around each other at one of the tables, focused intently on something. Intensely focused students is always a red flag to a middle school teacher, so I casually strolled by their table to see what they were up to.
“It’s a henna pen!” they proudly showed me. They had drawn henna designs all over themselves the weekend before, and had decided to bring the pen to school and ink everyone they knew.
“Let us give you one, Mrs. Brown!” they cried. “Please!”
Boredom and the end-of-year-sillies must have momentarily taken over my brain because I willingly agreed to let them tattoo my arm.
For my 30th birthday, I wanted to get a tattoo of the word “grateful” on my wrist. I thought about it for months and even looked into tattoo places and prices. I wimped out at the last minute, convinced that my pencil skirt/cardigan wearing self could not pull that off. But, I decided what would the harm be in a henna tattoo? Besides, these girls probably got the henna ink from Forever 21 or some other cheap place and it would just wash right off.
I told them what I wanted and handed over my wrist.
I was talking to some other students when I happened to look down just in time to see her spell out, “G-R-E-A-T-F-U-L.” On my wrist.
“STOP!” I yelled out. “YOU’RE SPELLING IT WRONG! WHO TAUGHT YOU TO SPELL?!?! WHO IS YOUR ENGLISH TEACHER, CHILD????” (That would be me, for the record…)
We quickly wiped that wrist off before the henna could set into my skin, and she began again on my other wrist. This time, I watched her like a hawk.
When she finished, the henna ink was this really thick black tar-like stuff.
“Don’t worry,” they said. “You wipe the black stuff away in, like, an hour, and then the henna tattoo is left.”
So, I wait an hour and then start to take off the black stuff during my next class period as my students were working. My immediate impression was that it was HUGE. Really big. But, it was kind of cute, I guess. I could handle anything for a day or two.
Later, two of the girls came back to check and see how my tattoo came out.
“It looks great!” I said, showing it off.
“Oh! Totally presh, Mrs. Brown!” they squealed. “You are going to love having that.”
That phrasing raised some hairs on my neck.
“How long am I going to have this exactly?” I asked hesitantly.
“Three to four weeks!” they said in unison.
Turns out, the girl didn’t buy this from Forever 21. She ordered it online from some Indian reservation out west. Basically, I have stained my skin, which isn’t too terrible, but I stained it FIVE DAYS BEFORE MY FAMILY PORTRAITS!
Yesterday, we met Jenn Hopkins at a state park in Palm Coast for our portraits. The pictures were beautiful! The kids were adorable! The location was perfect! And Jenn happily shrugged off my henna tattoo.
“PHOTOSHOP!” she sang out.
And I breathed deeply for the first time since Tuesday.
The photo session with Jenn went perfectly. We had pictures taken in the state park, which was gorgeous, and then we walked over to the beach and crawled out on some beach rocks as the tide came in. Chris and I were SOAKED with a rogue wave, but I think we had some really great pictures taken out there.
We came home sandy, soaked, sweaty, and supremely happy! Just another fun session with Jenn…