I thought I’d post a picture of my mom for Mother’s Day. I know what you’re thinking. Your thinking, “Look out, she’s a futuristic cyborg! …Or she works for the NSA.” Wrong on both counts. See, these days my mom is an avid photographer and I think this picture best represents her. This is who she is now, which is somewhat different from who she was when all her kids were young.
My parents were the kind of people who had it tough financially. To keep it brief, everything started out fine, they punched out four kids, everyone was happy. Then my dad got laid off and things went south for a long time. Well, it took until almost all the kids were out of the house to get ahead again. But get ahead they did, and even though the both still work (supposedly retiring this year), they’ve become globetrotting, Vegas-trotting, pretty much everywhere-trotting senior citizens.
When you’re down and out financially, you don’t always get to lead the kind of life you want to because you’re too busy making sacrifices for the family. So my mom didn’t get to pursue a great many things. Now, though, she does what she wants. And what she wants is photography. And she’s good at it.
She has that natural eye, that instinct, that timing that makes a good picture great. She rarely needs to do much photo editing, unless she’s going for a special effect or she just couldn’t get the light she wanted because of an overcast day. I tell her she should enter her pictures in contests or a state fair or something. She doesn’t though. She’s enjoying herself too much, expressing herself artistically in ways she couldn’t before. She’s not worried about recognition (except from the family, of course).
Whenever I visit my parents and my mom has her camera, it’s like the world stands still so she can get a shot. she’d tell you it takes 200 pictures to get one really good one. Looking at 200 of my pictures, I can assure that it takes about 1500 pictures for me to get a good one.
So I’m really annoyed that she’s a lot better at photography than I am. And, of course, she’s passed on the trait to my son who, at only nine, is almost as good as she is. And he lets me know about it.
Nothing my mom shoots is staged. It’s all real and happening right in front of her. She loves that journalistic approach to photography. That in-the-moment realism. I think what drives her to that approach is the fact that, no matter how hard she had it, she knew good years were coming one day and she wasn’t going to lose that drive for life just because there were a lot of downs before those ups.
She showed that positive attitude to her kids, even when things were down, and I think it helped us all grow into better people. Now that I have my own kid and a pantheon of nieces and nephews, I try to keep that positive attitude and pass it on.
I know that mom reads my blog. On occasion. When she’s not winning in Vegas or capturing pictures of castles in Ireland. So I hope she doesn’t mind that I posted this tiny handful of pictures she has shot over the years. Parents are supposed to be proud of their kids, but when you see the love and attention that your parents put into something and they share that with you, you have to be proud of them, too. I sure am happy she’s living the life she wants to.
My parents have said they are retiring to the U.P. (upper Michigan), where they have a small cottage on lake Superior left to them by my grandmother on my mom’s side. There are more memories at that cottage than I can count. I go up there often with my son, building even more of those memories. So, in honor of my mom and her lifelong journey that will soon bring her back to the U.P., I give you a picture that I took this last winter of the lake just behind the cottage. I hope to see many more of these with both of my parents.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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