Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Picture This


I try to put a picture with every post, but I can’t always come up with one. Sometimes the photos of me are flattering, other times not so much. I’m not too happy that the recent pictures of me show significant signs of aging. Photoshop isn’t my thing, but it would be nice to touch them up a bit.

So why don’t I just leave the pictures of me out altogether since the kids and the dog are much younger and cuter and are such willing subjects? Because I’m the mom, that’s why.

After my mother died, I searched through piles of photos, absolutely hungry for images of her. I found quite a few from her younger years—homecoming queen, college student, young bride-- or as I used to so eloquently say to her, “Back when you were pretty, Mommy!” I had a collage made for my dorm room wall, all featuring pictures of her, but still I wanted more.

I watched our few home movies, by then converted to VHS, but I saw only one fleeting image of her, merely a second long. Her voice, which I forgot two days after she died, remained elusive as I listened to tiny answering machine tapes in the hopes of hearing it just one more time. My friends still had her voice in their heads, but for me it was gone.

It seems that moms just aren’t in that many pictures. Either we are always the ones taking them, or we avoid the camera because we think we won’t look good.

Indeed, our kids sometimes wield the camera and snap pictures straight up our nostrils or of the cellulite on the back of our thighs. Not pretty. Every picture Molly takes of me looks like a surprised Hillary Clinton. This is one of the LEAST crazy looking ones she's taken of me...


More likely, however, child photographers will take pictures of Lego creations or pets. I don’t mind, since cameras are digital and images now limitless, but that didn’t go over very well in the 70’s when I was growing up.

One roll of film usually carried my family from the first day of school through to Easter, so my mom didn’t look too kindly on what she considered “wasted” pictures taken by the kids.

My personal favorite was my series entitled “Cat in a Paper Bag.”

Unfortunately, none of the cat showed. Mom finally put her foot down after yet another set of blurry hamster pics and made the NO ANIMALS or SCENERY rule. To this day, I have a hard time taking a picture without a person in it.

In the 80’s, we got more leeway and camera rights and we got my mom in a few more shots, but I will always regret that she died during the Disc Camera era—crappier, blurrier pictures there have never been.

I still can’t seem to get it together enough to have professional pictures taken of my family. I guess it’s too late to get those gorgeous, artsy pictures of the kids with naked hineys or tiny hands curled around mine. 7 ½ and 10 years old would be pushing it, right? But I do try to have my little camera ready to capture special moments when they arise.

And I’m determined to make sure the camera turns around on me, too.

When I look at shots of myself, I may see wrinkles, a stubborn lack of exercise and an inch of gray, but someday my kids will just see…MOM.


19 comments:

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

I completely agree! Let those cameras snap away, Mommy. Our kids will thank us some day.

L said...

I can totally see the cat-in-the-bag pictures in my head. Too funny. I do sometimes flinch when the umpteenth person-less picture is taken, and secretly delete them. I do need to make sure I am in more pictures, though - my other concern is that the kids will think I was never around! (they don't always put two and two together....)

Christy said...

I was just browsing through my folders of photos for the last year and was shocked by how few of me there were. Loads of baby, of course. And many of my husband, but only a few of me. I hereby resolve to change that!

purejoy said...

i find myself shying away from cameras. like i don't want a visual catalog of how much weight i've lost and more likely gained over the years. to my kids, though it doesn't matter. great post and great reminder to get out from behind my safetylens.

Chris said...

Whenever I'm with other women and their children, I say... Let me take a picture of you with your children... because most mothers are the ones taking pictures of the kids, with the husband, or the grandparents, or the dog.

Reminds me, I need to allow [make!] my husband take a few pictures of me... even though they're unflattering. :-)

Heidi said...

What a great post and a lovely tribute, in its own right, to your mom.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Anna! This is beautiful! And hilarious. I read paragraphs to my husband (and he didn't roll his eyes once!)

I have had many a bitter moment over the lack of pictures of me. You've inspired me to demand more. For my children.

bernthis said...

as a single mother of 43, I can't stand photos of me but I do it for this exact reason. My kid is actually a very good photographer (my ex is amazing) for her age, of course, so I trust her to get the best of me and she sometimes actually can

Debbie said...

I see all those signs of aging in my photos too. Hey, maybe it's a problem with the photos and not us!

Marinka said...

I think you look absolutely beautiful, but I can't stop laughing at the "surprised Hillary Clinton look" description.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I know what you mean... whenever I want to be in a picture I have to beg my husband and he snaps the picture as soon as it gets into his paws. He's like, "There." Usually, someone is looking off to the side or closing their eyes or most times I'm not even ready yet. But if I want to be in the picture, I guess that's the best I'm gonna get.

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

I know what you mean about forgetting your mothers voice - that is weird isn't it. I too did a post about my mum today but in a totally different context.

I am ALWAYS behind the camera - I need to make an effort to get in front of the camera with my kids.

Shawn said...

I think that you have a gorgeous face---beautiful bone structure and so svelte!

Post more pics, please!

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

Definitely agree about more pics! Photos really make the post!

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Mags said...

I love this post. I try to keep my digital camera close by at all times. I also recently bought a pocket video camera (kodak zi6); I've taken many videos of my children, but now am on a mission to get some videos of my own mom interacting with our family. Thanks for posting on this topic.

Tammy said...

wow, i have said this over and over again to my husband....twenty years from now i want people to know i was actually here during this (christmas,easter,birthday,etc) so instead of getting upset that they don't do it automatically i just ask them too, it works

Shawn said...

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Madge said...

you're right. i really resist having any pictures of me anywhere -- but i should have some, for the kids.

EatPlayLove said...

My mother is the same way, never wants her picture taken. I've turned into my mother. I couldn't find a picture of me I've liked in 6 months of photos, I am so critical of myself.

BTW are we long lost sisters or something? I seem to have the same thoughts as you!