10.11.2012

perfectly her mother

I ran across an article yesterday (thanks to Erin) that was about making pictures not just of your children but of making pictures of your children with YOU in them.

And that got me thinking. I make a lot of photos of AWA, but I don't make a lot of photos of AWA with me in them, as well. And that's really not fair to her.

Here's a little from the article. Go here to read the entire thing.

"But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves -- women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don't like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?

Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen. People, including my children, don't see the way I make sure my kids' favorite stuffed animals are on their beds at night. They don't know how I walk the grocery store aisles looking for treats that will thrill them for a special day. They don't know that I saved their side-snap, paper-thin baby shirts from the hospital where they were born or their little hospital bracelets in keepsake boxes high on the top shelves of their closets. They don't see me tossing and turning in bed wondering if I am doing an okay job as a mother, if they are okay in their schools, where we should take them for a vacation, what we should do for their birthdays. I'm up long past the news on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and eating cookies and milk, and I spend hours hunting the Internet and the local Targets for specially-requested Halloween costumes and birthday presents. They don't see any of that.

Someday, I want them to see me, documented, sitting right there beside them: me, the woman who gave birth to them, whom they can thank for their ample thighs and their pretty hair; me, the woman who nursed them all for the first years of their lives, enduring porn star-sized boobs and leaking through her shirts for months on end; me, who ran around gathering snacks to be the week's parent reader or planning the class Valentine's Day party; me, who cried when I dropped them off at preschool, breathed in the smell of their post-bath hair when I read them bedtime stories, and defied speeding laws when I had to rush them to the pediatric ER in the middle of the night for fill-in-the-blank (ear infections, croup, rotavirus).

I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.

When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don't look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her -- her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That's the mother I remember. My mother's body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn't care that she didn't look like a model. She was my mama.

So when all is said and done, if I can't do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.

I will save the little printed page with four squares of pictures on it and the words "Morgan's Sweet Sixteen" scrawled across the top with the date. There I am, hair not quite coiffed, make-up minimal, face fuller than I would like -- one hand holding a sleeping baby's head, and the other wrapped around my sweet littlest guy, who could not care less what I look like."


No, I'm not always perfect. No, I don't always look great. And truth be told, no...I don't shower every day sometimes. But every single day, Ama-Watts is here with me, and I'm with her. Every single day she is my daughter, and every single day, I am her mother.
So, I am committing to be in the picture with her. So one day, when I'm gone and maybe she's missing me a little bit, she can look at a picture of the two of us...on some random Thursday...and she how I wasn't perfect, but how perfectly I was her mother.
I love you, Ama-Watts.












3 comments:

  1. I LOVE THIS POST. When my mom died, the pictures of her meant SO much to me! And there were so very little pictures of me AND her! Continue this tradition through the years!!!! It will be so special to her one day!!!

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  2. i love these! and i love looking back on old pictures of my mom with me as a baby/kiddo. :)

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