When my friend Angie and I had our first children, we both loved an essay collection called, Child of Mine: Writers Talk About the First Year of Motherhood. Today it is easy to find women sharing their experiences as parents online, but that wasn’t the case in 2002. If blogs existed in then, I hadn’t heard of them, and I loved the refreshing diversity of reflections in this book.
Based on this book, Angie then gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. She contacted the other mothers closest to me---my sisters who had children, my good friends Kris and DB, my mother-in-law and my mom, and asked them to write a reflection on parenting. Some wrote advice or a story about their own experience, and each included a photo. The binder she put together of all their contributions is one of the few things I’d grab in case of a fire. So, rather than risk that, I decided to scan it this weekend. It had been a few years since I opened it and I was startled by my mom’s contribution.
One of the biggest projects of 2012 was going through all my parents’ old photos and having them scanned. I thought I remembered there being one of my mom and me as a child, but I went through every photo and found none. And here I had it all the time, my mom having included the original at the bottom of her page. August 1971 is the date on the side. My mom was seven months pregnant with my brother John then, but I still had two more months of being the baby. It is the only photo of just her and me until my high school graduation.
Thank you, Angie. And thank you, Mom.
If you are one of the new moms I’ve photographed,or even if your baby is now a teen or even an adult, I hope you will take a moment today to write down a few words. Turn off any voice in your head telling you that you’re not a writer, and write the words you would like your child to have in your voice, even when you no longer have a voice to say them. It will be a gift she or he will treasure like no other.