My kids left to go camping with their dad and grandpa earlier in the week. I couldn’t go as it was a last minute decision and I have work commitment but I did promised that I will join them. The camping ground is 6 hours down south, a place called Merimbula. I help them packed and stood there until they are seated in their seat with their seatbelts on, giving them the last cuddle and them calling out we can’t wait to see you there mummy. Just hearing those words in those longing affectionate tone, I know I would move mountains to get there if I need to.
On the 4th day, I joined them. How they greeted me surprised me. Both kids were non stop chirping birds, wanting to hold my hands and pulling me around to show me places around the campsite and to the beach where they have been spending time playing. Their face was just as bright and excited as sunshine. I haven’t heard them talk so much before like this nor have I ever seen faces with permanent smiles. If you have ever been to a sport event where a favourite team enter the field or when the team score a goal, you can see and hear how the whole stadium upstanding, coming alive with happiest loud cheers, that’s the vibe I got from my kids. I felt their love and them missing me. I felt my importance.
They pulled me to the beach and as usual, we chased each other, we jumped waves together and laughed. It’s very typical of me to stop to take pictures of them. I held my phone with my left hand taking videos of them playing as I wanted to capture the sounds and movements and with my camera in my right hand, I freeze those moments in a picture. I did both simultaneously.
After a few minutes I stopped. I realised I’m not in the video, nor the photos. I stood quietly to gather my thoughts and I then bend backwards to capture a picture of me videoing my kids. I stopped again and looked at the picture and it looks so ironic. My presence here and seeing my face makes them the happiest kids. Yet, these pictures don’t show them that. I’m not anywhere in the frame. Fast forward many years, when they look at family photo albums, they will see a lot of themselves but not many pictures with me, their mummy or with us together as a family.
I am their universe, but I’m absent in most pictures. I’m always behind and rarely in-front. I think I do this to preserve memories for them, but really it’s for myself. It’s for me to look at as they get older to remind myself of how cute and adorable they are now. If it was for them, they’d want to see their universe in those pics. They would want to see and feel how engaging and funny their Mummy was playing with them, how soft and gentle she is as she hold them in her arms, how she loves them with her her eyes and touches …. or even messy photos to shows how crazy busy life was once upon a time. I’d imagine those pics would mean the world to them as they get older and it becomes more and more precious and meaningful as they become wiser – as they become independents kids, as they start to build their own family and have their own children.
If you’re a mum, I know you can relate as I know how much you do for your family and that you are everywhere. -always the one behind the scene to make it all happen. You are the universe.
If you’re a kid – a grown up teenager, an adult now with your own family … is family photos with your own parents or a pic of you and your mum when you were young make you emotional?
That’s a realisation that I came to this past week. What I think I’ve been creating for my kids is partly a misunderstanding.
I wanted to share this with you as I’m very passionate about children and parenthood/motherhood. I guess in a way, I wish for every family and every mum to have something for yourselves. I’m a mum. I often forget about myself and always put others first but what I have learnt is it’s important to show up for yourself too because you are one of the main character – the most important character in your family story.
So please get yourself to the front into the frame – messy hair with white strands, a few kilos heavier or perhaps old clothes .. forget it all and just turn up the way you are. Be comfortable how you are being seen, After all, that’s how your kids see you everyday right? Please don’t feel the pressure to make yourself look perfect.
I know there are many ways to do it and the only way I can encourage you and get involved myself is to offer a 20% discount on all my family sessions for Mother’s day till May 3rd. Yes I do want to shoot more mamas and families, I do I do. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a gift that will become ever more precious with time..
Apr 18, 2021