There are other photos from this day, my tubby toddler daddy laying on his tummy, with his dark hair no doubt curled with by his mother's fingers in preparation for the photographer, into that little cherub style swirl.
I don't know if the photographer asked her to pose, or if they just happened to snap this one in between shots.
But it is my favorite.
Her dark hair tied back with that scarf. That mommy hold I know cuz my babies are tubby too.
The familiarity of her attention, her gaze, her heart, in that moment turned to her child.
I'm so glad they took of picture of her that day and didn't just shoot the baby, as cute as he is.
I read this post today. Loved it. Shawni is so good, isn't she?
Which made me wonder:
Had I kept her up all night?
teething perhaps? had I finally been made happy gnawing on a plate?
All those year being my mamma 24/7 and just a handfull of photos to somehow represent the millions of other moments that didn't get exposed onto film.
“I want us to remember their life was not just them standing smiling at the camera.”
So unnatural, forced, poised. There’s some good pictures, but very few of the true to life, "in the moment ones" I’d love to have.
First time mamma, eager to document her journey.
These pictures snapped by Ben or friends I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with in our "Apex summers" aren't beautiful to me because my makeup was just right or my hair was just so or my outfit carefully planned.
They are beautiful because of how they make me remember what it felt like to mother --then. even they aren't the total candid's I long for.
To feel that growing boy firmly on my hip, his hand (as always) reaching for my hair, his brother kicking from inside me, already clamouring for my attention. How Aaron was my one and only little buddy. Daddy worked long, long hours and it was him and me day in day out. He was my meal time companion, my naptime cuddler, my everything. I like remembering that feeling of undividedness, devotion and really that co-dependance.
He gave me a reason to be, and I gave him everything I had.
I look and I see I'm young.
Not in a bemoaning my youth kinda way, but I just look at my a few years less worn face and think, “you were just trying your best to figure things out weren't you?”. In ten years I'll probably look at pictures of my now and probably think the same thing.
I see a mom who thinks one day she'll sleep. Poor thing has no idea. I see a mom who thinks her heart can't possible hold any more love. Again she’s so wrong. I see a mom who wanted to do her best but everyday went to bed wondering if her efforts and failings will ever feel like enough. She still does.
I see a mom looking at her son. And I remember what I saw. It's amazing how enthralled a parent can be with their child. That all normal things...ears, feet, cowlicks, eyelashes beg to be inspected again and again, our maternal instincts pleading with us to commit these details to memory, in all their infantile perfection.
One of my all-time cherished pictures is this one.
All things we strive for in other relationships, so often unsuccessfully.
And yet there it is, as a mother holds their child.
I want my kids to remember that feeling when the world becomes so much bigger and scarier than it was on my lap.
But some of my favorite pictures are those where I convinced the mamma to be in the picture and caught for a moment a genuine smile at their baby. That new falling in love with every wiggly ounce of you smile. The, “how can you not have always existed and I always have loved you?” smile.
I obviously love my new borns but I feel like they just get funner and funner as they grow.
Yet taking picture of this little newborn this week, made me remember one thing I DO love about newborns: Taking pictures of them!
Thanks little Wyatt for reminding me of that!
So how do we do this? I want more picture of me with my kids...but how?
Short of hiring a professional photographer to follow us around to capture those little moments...hmmm...
First I did thought of friends.
Those other moms, who see like I see, because they have felt what I feel.
I love this one I took of my friend Kelley...man that boy loves his mamma!
The other thought was my good old iPhone. They may be low quality but they are still a record. So today, as I
(as always) made googley eyes and gave smooches to my little potty training Levi while he, you guessed it, sat on the potty doing his business.
I thought: this is one of those moments! All these faces and kisses we share (basically because I’m a captive audience waiting to wipe his bum!) I want to remember this.
Memories are so much more fragile than they at first feel.
Again Allison Tate's article was just so good:
She only has one picture of just her and her mom.
But it is so perfect.
You can't even quite see her moms face, but man you can see hers.
Hopefully they're be more of these:
So one day my kids can feel the way I feel when I look at this.
Grateful. Humbled. So very happy that my mom wore Disneyland shirts and had me wear adorable bonnets. So glad that I have had my own babies and that I could look at those baby thighs and know exactly what they feel like because my hands have held my babies in just that same way. That my elbows look like hers. Glad I was hers. My beautiful mom.
One last quote from Allison Tate:
"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."
And I actually believed him.