The following was originally published in May 2010. I have revised it a bit and added some new photos to share with you this Mother’s Day weekend. I hope you enjoy it. Best wishes, Kara
I love taking pictures of my kids. I may not be the best photographer, or have fancy camera equipment, but every holiday, birthday, and special occasion will find me enthusiastically snapping pictures and coaxing smiles from my family.
Mother’s Day is this weekend and I will, of course, be bringing my camera along to document the day. However, this year I want to take a different approach when looking through the lens of my camera: I want to focus on the ordinary.
What will I want to have a memory of years from now? What seemingly ordinary moments and things will be precious to myself and to my children in the future?
Moments to Capture this Mother’s Day
Because we don’t get together too often, I have a tendency try to squeeze every family member I can into large group photos. I do this because I want a record of us all together.
But afterward, I find myself staring a stack of group shots that I’m disappointed in because someone’s eyes were closed or somebody was looking away.
This year I want to forgo the group shots and focus more on faces and individuals.
I want to take more close-ups: the chubby baby cheeks of my youngest child and my mom’s bright blue eyes. I want the laugh-lines, the dimples, the freckles. The stories they tell will be more meaningful to me someday than the posed group pictures.
As long as I’m zooming in for close-ups, I want to take pictures of my family’s hands. Hands tell some pretty amazing stories. Some hands are dimpled and chubby, some have bright pink nail polish, some are wearing wedding bands. Bigger hands hold little hands.
Me, Myself, and I
I’m one of those mothers whose family albums contain almost no pictures of myself. As I’m always the one behind the camera, I’m seldom in the pictures unless they are self-portraits. Because I wish I had more pictures of my own mother, especially pictures of her from when I was growing up, I’m trying to be mindful of including pictures of myself for my kids.
This Mother’s Day, I’m going to hand the camera over to someone else and make sure that my picture gets taken. I want to give my children family albums that show more of their mother than just than my words and journaling and a handful of slightly blurry self-portraits where only part of my face is showing.
I want them to be able to look back when they are grown and see me, their mother, as I am right now. I want them to be able to look at pictures of me and know that I was really living life, right there beside them.
A few years ago, I was with my mother and grandmother watching my oldest daughter play. I wondered something out loud about if it ever stopped being amazing to watch your child grow up and my mother looked at me and said,”It hasn’t stopped being amazing yet.“ And then her mother looked at her and said, “No, it hasn’t.”
We are always our mother’s children, no matter how old we get.
Every year that my family gets to celebrate these four living generations is a gift. There are no ordinary moments. I want to document that, to freeze time, so that I can say to my children, “Look at this picture. These are the women who love you. These are the mothers of this family.”
It hasn’t stopped being amazing yet.
What ordinary moments will you be capturing this Mother’s Day?