Odelia Larbi-Amoah

Dacula High School

Growing up my family always kept pictures of my younger siblings and me on the fridge. Mine was a picture my preschool teacher took; my hair was in plaits, I wore a denim dress that was a size too big because my mom’s rule of thumb was “you’ll grow into it”, and I had a huge smile plastered on my face. The frame was yellow and read “thumb body loves you” with red fingerprints on it in the shape of a ladybug; on the bottom was my graduation year, 2022.

Despite seeing the picture daily, I never really envisioned myself actually being a senior and getting ready for graduation. That was nearly fifteen years ago and as a child the year 2022 was not even imaginable. So when I put on the cap and gown, the realization that I was actually a senior settled it; the feeling was bittersweet.

The day I had to take my pictures was extremely hectic. My mom is a single parent and is always working so even though she had taken the day off, she accidentally forgot it was the day for my pictures to be taken. On top of that, I had to work and study for assessments right after taking my pictures. As I undid my twists for a twist out and my mom hastily got ready I kept reciting the day’s plan in my head fully prepared for a dysfunctional day.

At the time I was slightly worried I wouldn’t have time to do everything so I honestly didn’t have high expectations for the pictures. I was under the impression that pictures would be similar to school yearbook pictures; I would walk in the photographer would take two or three quick pictures and I would walk away, fingers crossed that they came out good. I was definitely mistaken. As I took the pictures I was met with such kindness, the photographers took their time making sure everything was perfect, trying new poses with me and slowly bringing me out of my comfort zone. They showed me the pictures they took making sure it was to my liking and even asked if there were any poses that I wanted to experiment with.

The most memorable moment was taking the cap and gown photos. As a person with natural hair, fitting on the cap was a concern that had been on my mind since I was wearing my hair out. Before I even asked for any accommodations, the lady that was preparing the gowns told me to hold on as she went to get a cap with a headband in it. After looking she told me she couldn’t find one. As I prepared to tell her it was fine, she went and looked for a headband and glue and started putting together the headband. I smiled gratefully as she placed the cap perfectly in my hair making sure not to mess it up, she then made sure the graduation stole and cords were placed perfectly. I’m sure she was tired of the number of times I said thank you but it was just so heartwarming, I had never been met with such kindness when it came to taking pictures.

One might look at my cap and gown photos and see myself smiling with a fake rolled-up paper in my hand. But when I look back at the pictures I’m going to see the smiles my mom and I shared as she looked at me with pride. At that moment I felt so much warmth looking at her, knowing how much she had given up for me to get to the place I’m currently at and I am beyond grateful that the photographers at Cady studios were the ones to capture the moment. The whole time I had a smile on my face both behind and in front of the camera.

Afterward, my mom and I were told we could take pictures together which was really fun. The whole experience was so comfortable and positive and I left feeling so much more relaxed about the rest of the day. Even though the Cap and gown photos haven’t come yet, I can’t wait to receive them so I can put them next to the photo on the fridge knowing that thumb body loves me!

When I look back at my pictures I’m going to see the smiles my mom and I shared as she looked at me with pride