Here’s a quick challenge. Log onto your Facebook page and look at the last few months of photos. How many of those photos are of your kids? How many of those photos are you in? Now go to the Facebook page of a friend who doesn’t have kids. How many pictures have they posted that are of themselves (with or without other people in them)? See a pattern?
Sometimes a blog post hits me dead between the eyes.
Lisa Belkin’s post last week in the Huffington Post did just that. In it she writes of the overwhelming reader response to an essay by Allison Tate who wrote about her quest to put herself back in her children’s pictures after noticing that she had fewer and fewer pictures of herself with her kids.
Tate asked how someone so omnipresent in her children’s lives could be so absent in the documentation of their lives? It got me thinking. How many pictures do I have of myself with D2? Turns out not as many as I thought.
I remember when I posted the photo below on my Facebook page. I loved the contrast of D2’s face against the colorful design on my dress. One of my friends commented, “Love the photo but where is mommy?” Indeed, where is she? Who is she?
As I look back on the last three years of photos with D2, I realize that as he has gotten older, I am in fewer and fewer photos with him.
I’ve always shied away from being defined only by my role as a mother. As much as I love being a mother, I feel myself cringing when people say “Oh, you’re D2’s mommy!” I want to say, “Yes, but I’m lots of other things too, not just a mother.”
Am I subconsciously opting out of pictures to make a statement? Or is something else at work?
Or maybe it’s that like lots of mothers, I see so many flaws in my “post-baby” body and pictures only serve as a reminder that some days I just don’t feel or look all that fabulous. I wish my butt was smaller and my boobs were perkier. I wish I didn’t have so many moles on my face. The list goes on and on. Every now and then when the stars align I feel like I look good enough to take a picture.
But what I realize from reading Allison Tate’s essay is that’s a pretty selfish reason to opt out of pictures. Truth be told, D2 doesn’t care if I need a hair cut or if I am ten pounds too heavy. He doesn’t care if I’m wearing lipgloss or if my eyebrows are perfectly shaped ready for my closeup.
No, he cares about hugs, kisses for his boo boos and our time together in his rocking chair where we record silly videos and take snapshots on my iPhone every single night – without fail. He needs to see me. He needs to know that when I am long gone, he can look back at our photos and see the documentation of a mother who loved him more than anything else in the world. I was there with him.
So like lots of moms who were moved by Allison Tate’s essay, I’m putting myself back in the picture.
What I know for sure is that no documentation of D2’s life is complete without me in them. Your turn. Do you take photos with your kids? Do you ever find that you are missing from pictures of important family moments? What do you think of Allison Tate’s challenge?