Some of us carried and birthed our children. Some of us nurture them with our bodies. Most of us have woken with them in the night and nursed them through sickness. We may have more lines on our faces since our children came into our lives. We may have given up counting our grey hairs, or we may know that the first is just around the corner. We have a newfound fear of mortality: ours (how can we ever leave them?), theirs (too dreadful to contemplate). We are not the same as we were before children. Motherhood has changed us.
We are still beautiful. Unless we tell our children otherwise, we are still perfection in their eyes.
I have many favourite pictures of my mother: cuddling her newborn, exhausted but radiant; holding the hands of two little girls in sailor dresses, sunkissed in Spain; at a family barbeque with a glass of wine and children playing in the background. They became more sparse as I grew into a surly – and frankly, unphotogenic – teenager, but I treasure those early photographs.
I want the twins to have hundreds of pictures of our family adventures. I want to be in them too. I want them to remember that I was there and if they’re too young to remember, then I damn well want there to be photographic evidence of the fact! I want images that tell them I have been here from the start. I held you close. I took you places. I have loved you an awful lot, enjoyed you quite a bit and managed not to kill you when you were at your worst. You have been the pivotal point in my life.
Join me. Next time that you pull out your photographic device of choice, hand it to somebody else. Ask them to capture you in the image too. Be in the moment with your child.
A picture tells a thousand words so don’t edit yourself out of your child’s story.