February 04, 2013

I read this article with tears in my eyes. Boy did it hit home…

How often we don’t want to be in the picture because… fill out your own reason like – quote article – we’re not as young as we used to be. We don’t always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think.

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.

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, 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.

And this is why I love what I do. I love to take pictures to preserve the memory. I can totally relate to the fact that most woman don’t like to get their picture taken. Guess what!! I don’t like to get my pictures taken. But it is SO important to have images, so your story will be told and will be remembered. I study how to pose a certain body type to make it look it’s best. I pay attention to the little details, like how your shirt falls, how you can hold your arms so they don’t look ‘big’. So if you are very self conscious; have your images taken by a professional who works with you and make you look your best. Or do it your self, but make sure there are images of YOU because at the end of the day that is all what matters to your loved ones.

Hilde and family photo taken by Hilke van Lieshout

Me and my family photo taken by Hilke van Lieshout