I pulled into the only vacant space in the Belle Isle parking lot on a cloudy, cool Sunday afternoon. I debated wearing my coat, decided it was warmer than originally forecast, and left it on the seat as Nicole, Olivia, and Luke joined me next to the car.
It had been three years since our last family session, but it definitely didn’t feel like it as we crossed the bridge over the James River. Nicole and I caught up while Olivia and Luke trailed behind us in hushed teenage conversation.
The wind picked up as soon as we hit the island and I felt myself regretting my decision to leave my coat on the other side of the river. But in solidarity with the others, we all tucked our hands into our sleeves and pockets, and we breezed through my favorite spots on the north side of the island. Even with the leaves almost all gone in mid-November, the river creates a year-round backdrop and the Mannos’ wardrobe choices were a perfect neutral for wintry photos.
Even with the blustery weather, Belle Isle was crowded, and we saw lots of people out for walks, runs, bike rides, and rock-hopping. One guy was rock balancing out in the James River, which I could have stayed and watched for hours. He seemed pretty good at it.
As we finished up and headed back across the bridge, I looked back and noted that Olivia and Luke were still hanging back and talking. I looked at Nicole and told her I hoped that my son and daughter were as nice to each other and as good friends as her kids are. Hashtag, teengoals.