Friday, September 7, 2012

For Irene

A few weeks ago, one of my friends from high school lost his mother. We attended her service, and we mourned- not for her, necessarily, but for her two kids. Yes, they're adults, but their mother will miss major milestones in their lives. Buying a home, baking the perfect soufflé, promotions at work, getting married, having children, and so many more life events.

She won't be there. She's just... gone.

Justin, her son and my friend, gave a touching, funny, and appropriate eulogy. There were pictures of his mother throughout her life, well before the advent of digital cameras, and her vigor and vitality shone in them. He did remarkably well under devastating circumstances. His mother would have been proud- but would have expected no less of him.

The rest of the day, Mom and I talked through our grief. I wept and wept at the idea of leaving my baby behind, because let's face it, no matter how old you are, you always want to be there for your kids. Forever and ever my baby you'll be, and whatnot.

I've been thinking about Genevieve; sure, if something were to happen to me, she could listen to the podcast and hear my voice. She could read my blog (when she's old enough to read) and see what was important to me, how I relate to my family.

But there aren't very many pictures of me on here, mostly because I'm behind the camera. There are literally *thousands* of pictures of Genevieve on my computer, but very few of us together. I'm not wearing makeup with any sort of frequency anymore and I feel I look like the cryptkeeper.

It bothers me that I'm not bouncing around in my fitted, pre-pregnancy wardrobe and spike heels. Even if it's not practical to wear the heels, I want to *choose* sneakers over pumps. I want Genevieve to look back and see her mom fabulous, put-together, and getting things done. Vain, vain, vain.

Here's the thing: I'd rather dress to comfortably play on the floor with her than to try to impress who? The neighbors? I'd rather do a million other things *with* Genevieve than *for* anybody else.

I want her to look back on the pictures and see who I am; her mom who loves her like crazy.

I love you, so I made you a sweater.
From now on, I'm going to be in the pictures. Just the way I am.


  1. Beautiful! Sounds like a good plan and something I should think about.

  2. You go girl ! I have maybe one picture of my Mom, and oh how I wish I had more !

  3. Back when we only had 1 child, we prepared wills and power of attorney documents. I had a really hard time with the notion of naming a guardian because I couldn't bear the thought of not being their for my child. Now we have 2 kids, and they're 13 and 15. It's still upsetting to think about not being there for them.

  4. Great post!! And as someone who lost their mother when she was 6 and a half and have very few pictures of us together...GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA WITH HER! Without make up...funky hair...pjs...who cares! It's so important! I have maybe 3 pictures of my mother and I. And they are most important to me! I even have seen one of her nursing me! I think my sister has it and I want it in my possession but keep forget to grab it. So that is another thing...take a picture of you nursing her. You don't have to post it but just so she can see it and know that you nursed her when you were young. I only have one of me nursing Carmen and I regret it! This next baby better watch out because I will probably be taking lots of us nursing and more.

    Thanks for this post! I love it! I'm glad you've gotten there but sad how the inspiration came about.

    I am usually behind the camera too but I try to get some of us together...I don't always post them but I have them! :)

  5. Brilliant and touching. Looking forward to seeing pictures of you together!

  6. You had me teary-eyed at the beginning of your post, but grinning with pleasure and agreement by the time I read your last sentence!


  7. I decided a long time ago that moms in sneakers are way more fun than moms in heels. I truly believe the kid with the "fun mom" will see their mom as beautiful.

    When my kids were all young, I would take my kids to the swimming pool. I was always in the water playing with my kids. They would be hanging all over me, dunking me under. The pretty, tan moms sitting in their chairs with their "perfect" bodies and hairdo's made me feel like a half-drowned frump. But then it dawned on me, I was interacting with my kids having fun. Those moms were just watching their kids have fun.

    I bet I know which mom YOU will be! :-)

  8. As it should be. I have spent the last 17 years fully cognizant of the fact that my job is to teach my daughter the skills she will need to outlive me. I try not to over shelter her, nor over expose her to the ills of the world, but to give her the tools to deal with whatever she meets around the next corner. In doing so, I'm watching a very cool, independent, competent, compassionate young woman grow up.

    Lucky Genevieve. :)

  9. You realize you look way better (more healthy and happy and just plain shiny) now than you ever did when you were pre-mouse, don't you?

  10. Bravo! I lost my partner suddenly and as he was the one behind the camera all the time and I hate having my picture taken, I was desperate to find a photo with both of us in. We found one just in everyday clothes and stuff - it is the most precious photo I have. So you get in front of the camera girl and show the world and G. your stunning real self, without the glam but with memories and love. C x

  11. I'm so sorry your friend lost his mom. Thank you for being such a good mom, and so close to your good mom.

  12. I lost my mom at 25 and in the last 10 years I have missed her everyday. It sure has influenced my decisions as a mother. I want my son to look back in 30 years and say my parents and I played and had fun together not that the house as so clean we could eat off the floor.

  13. I still think you should take up scrapbooking, but letter, notes, your views when the picture was taken, what was the weather, what did you eat, what did you laugh it. Mine seem to be in a voice TO my son. Amazing the memories and the story. I know you are not a fan of video podcasts but Mommy needs yarn Erin went thru a similar light bulb moment in which she said the same things about being in the pictures not just behind the camera

  14. when my mother died, I was 37 with 3 kids of my own. that's when I realized there were almost no pictures of with me, her first born, and then a few formal portraits at my wedding, 21 years later. In between, she never let us take photos....."I don't have my lipstick" or " I need to lose a few pounds" or whatever excuse, all trivial.

    Like you I was upset, and vowed my kids would have pictures of me, no matter how I looked, pictures of me with them and loving them, even if I needed to lose weight or was stuck in my "messy Mom" clothes. I know they will look at them and see the love, not the imperfection.

    I'm so glad you thought of this, and so glad you posted it for all the other young moms to read.

    Barbara M. In NH

  15. Last month my sister-in-law passed away from cancer at the age of 35. Her son, my nephew is 2 1/2 and likely will have no real memories of her, he's just too young. She was diagnosed when he was 8 months old, and though they knew it was likely to be terminal, they didn't focus on documenting memories for my nephew's future. I suppose it was just too hard to accept that her life was coming to an end. I am sorry this is such a downer of a comment, but I just wanted to stress the point that photos, videos, letters, scrapbooks, anything really that can document memories for future generations are so important because you just never know how short life can be.

  16. E'yup - that's the face she knows and loves.
    My Mom was gone before I was 30. I miss her more than I can say.
    I love the more "staged" pictures of my mother. She was a looker and did some modeling in her younger days.
    But my favorite pictures are when she's the Mom I remember 'round the house, laughing and smiling.
    I think you have the right idea.

  17. We have a camera that is water proof and drop proof, our boys love sneaking up on each other and me and their Dad and getting photo's of us all. They've been using it since they were about 2. I used to want to be all put together before having a photo taken but realised that that isn't the real me, the person they see everyday is the real me so I make funny faces or pretend I'm ignoring them and get down on the floor and play with them because that is what they'll remember.

  18. Yes, this. Exactly this - to want to dress to play and not to impress others. To want to be there, but also to want to make memories. To have some photographic evidence that you were there, her mother, laughing and playing and right along with them.

    Thank you for reminding me of the treasured few photos that I have of my own mother with me when I was a baby and thank you for the gentle reminder to hand the camera over to someone else once in a while.

    Best wishes!

  19. I am the mother of a six month old baby. I noticed I don't have very many pictures of the two of us either or even of the family all together. Note to self - take more pictures of us as a family.

    I've been catching up on your podcast and love listening to you and your mom. I COMPLETELY relate when you talk about not having enough bandwidth. That is a great way of describing how I feel at this point in my life.

  20. Thank you for the reminder, Jasmin!

  21. Thank you for this. I'm wiping off my tears to write this comment. What a good reminder to take more pictures of my precious little girl and I together!

  22. I am in a similar place. One of my friends from high school will be going to heaven soon, leaving behind her daughters ages 6 and 3. I have always lived in gratitude for the life and little people that I have, but I find myself loving more and working harder to stay in the moment with the ones that I love. Tennis shoes and yoga pants seem to matter less now, just as they should.

  23. Am happy that you discover this very important fact now. So happy for you. I did not, I was always behind the camera, taking photos with them with a father that in reality was never there for them - today they are grown up and it hurt reading your story as my hugs and kisses are not on record./Anne


If you'd like me to respond, please make sure to put your email address in the field. :)