I love pictures. My house is covered in them. There is not one inch of this house that isn’t decorated with a photo or special piece of art that has some type of sentimental meaning. The photos are strategically placed in areas where my children are most likely to have meltdowns. It is a calming mechanism I use when my children are throwing cups filled of milk at me while yelling “I SAID JUICE!” Try it. It helps. I haven’t sold a child yet.
But then there is this. I was no where to be found in any of these pictures. Like MIA. Some day when Gus and Hank show their grandchildren, their grandkids will say “I wonder if they had a mother. But their dad looks great.” Yeah. He is in about 10,000 pictures. At the zoo. At the pool. At the lake. They are on his shoulders, playing catch, reading books. I must just be napping somewhere while they do all of these fun things. Oh wait, I was the one taking pictures.
Please don’t get me wrong. My husband tries. And whenever I ask him to take pictures, he does. The problem is this: The boys and I are by the lake, tearing off tiny pieces of bread and tossing them to the baby ducks. The boys are laughing. The ducks are waddling. I say “John, take a picture.” In the next 10 seconds as John pulls out his phone to take a shot, Gus eats a piece of the bread. This makes Hank mad, so he throws a stick at Gus. The ruckus brings the mother duck up hissing and flapping her wings at the boys. They in turn charge me and I fall gracelessly back into the wet sticky sand. The photos turn out as expected. Sigh.
So after realizing my husband is a lot of great things, but he isn’t a photographer, I called a friend. She is a photographer. I thought long and hard about what I should wear and where we should take these perfectly posed photos before deciding, “nah.” I had her come over to my messy home, and take pictures of me and my boys doing things me and my boys do. We played outside. We made pancakes. We read books. I drank coffee.
I didn’t even pick up my house. I wanted it to be real. But not too real…so I put on a dress for a few of the pictures, and made my kids wear clothes that did not have Cheeto dust on them (to make up for the messy house). And those pictures were perfect. They are my moments. I will keep them forever. Because we aren’t sitting carefully in coordinating outfits on a bench in a studio. We are doing life. I am being a mom. They are being my little boys. And this is what I love. I do not love being a mom because it is clean and white and crisp and fresh. It is pancakey and grass stainy. And I do not love my boys because they are posed and matching. I love them because they are always chasing and laughing.
Moms….get your picture taken with your kids. Hand over the camera. If your husband isn’t a photographer, get one. And if you are in or near Sioux Falls, I have one for you. She specializes in just this. Photographing moms being moms. (To avoid trolls and crazies, please message me for her info if you are interested!)