I am a mother. This does not define me, but then again it does define me, since I am mom first and everything else comes after. Many years ago, I read an excerpt from a book talking about how joining a religious order meant having all the layers of yourself peeled away one by one, until all that was left was you at your purest essence. When my daughter was about two months old, I realized that this is also true of motherhood. This is the thing that nobody tells you, how it strips you of pride, selfishness, ego, and even dignity (try going to the bathroom alone). It’s a constantly changing, rigorous journey that alters everything about your life. It’s also an amazing opportunity to learn new things about yourself in the process.
Nowhere else are your mistakes and shortcomings so immediately evident than in parenthood; your children are a mirror of every single thing you say and do.
Overshadowing every other part of the journey, however, is love. Incredible, all encompassing, fierce, powerful love. The little tyrant that will stomp her foot and scream, or give me the attitude of a recalcitrant teenager at the tender age of 8, is also the best thing that has even happened to me, and the most important thing I have ever done or will ever do is to be her mother. Sometimes I find myself obsessing about my own life, wondering if I am headed down the right path, what should I do, what about a career - and then I remember that I am already doing it. I think about all the time I spent thinking about my life in the past, during high school, and college, and after, and it makes me laugh knowing how all of that time just brought me to exactly where I am now, slowly but surely guiding this beautiful human being through her childhood.
My daughter is often by my side when I am out photographing, and because she is with me we end up spending a lot of time at the children’s areas of festivals and events. This is fine with me, since I enjoy watching her have fun and it usually affords me a lot of time standing in one place and observing the wonderful people around me. The photographs I present with my reflections on this Mother’s Day are ones I have made during our excursions together (plus one that I made of a friend and her son), and I dedicate these little moments to all of my fellow moms. You are beautiful, and unique, and your place in this life is precious. It’s a hard job, and you deserve so much recognition and respect every single day.
All photographs Kodak Tri-x / color photograph Cinestill 800T