With Them

Sound side of Jockey’s Ridge, Nag’s Head, NC. Abram, me and Llewellyn. December 2018 photographed by the talented  Kimberly Michele Photography

Sound side of Jockey’s Ridge, Nag’s Head, NC. Abram, me and Llewellyn. December 2018 photographed by the talented Kimberly Michele Photography

So I’ve been thinking.   We, as mothers, often hide away from the camera's lens, out of the frame, or in my case behind the camera. We don't always want to be seen, and push the focus on the kids, the husband, anyone but ourselves. We haven't always been this way, we weren't like this at our prom, weddings, childhood birthday parties.

I will admit kindly that it was my own mother who taught me how to hide from the camera.  I’m 100% sure her mother taught it to her. In fact, I remember exact moments of my Grandma Birdie not wanting to get in the picture. My mother would be “shooing” others to hop in the picture so she wouldn’t have to be in it. You know what I mean? Where you wave others to get in the picture while you take the picture or even just stand beside the one who is photographing. My mother had excuses like, “I don’t have my lips on” ( her cute and unique way of saying she didn’t have her lipstick on.) I remember so wishing she wouldn't hide away and now I know why because I do it for the same reasons.  Although I really want to see and remember what I look like as a mom, and I desperately want my children to see and remember me as their mother, there are some pieces I don't want to see. The exhaustion and lost of sleep wears on us moms and shows up on our face, our shoulders, our posture. It shows up in and around our eyes, even our skin. Sure there are mothers who are blessed beyond measure and show little evidence of this version of motherhood.  Yet, no matter which way you were blessed, your children won’t remember your wrinkles, they might even get a good chuckle at the stain of blueberries on your shirt, they will remember your attention to them, your smile, your smell, your warmth and your love. They just want to see and remember you, and even see and remember you with them.  If we as mothers can help each other get past this insecurity, this vanity and loss of priority of self, we actually might get to what we want to be seen and remembered as- their mother.  It is from this place that our children will remember that we wanted to be seen with them and also that we too are important enough to be photographed, with them.