“Mama, wanna play with me? You wanna play with me?”
Her pleas sounded more like a demand than a request and I knew if I said ‘no’ she would keep asking, demanding and continue to look heartbroken and crestfallen.
Each day she follows me around with the same demand – I mean request – so I know the drill now and most days I’m thrilled she wants me to play with her. What an honor to be the main person she wants to play and interact with in this season of her life.
On this day she had dragged her stuffed animal entourage onto the front steps and sidewalk. She set them up in a circle and sat in the middle of them and instructed me to do the same. Then I was directed to “‘tend you Mama bear,” which is the stuffed white Christmas themed bear that was given to me by my husband.
I pretended I was Mama Bear and asked the other animals how they were and Little Miss about her day.
I hugged the fluffy white Christmas bear against me and buried my face in its’ white fur.
Sitting there on the sidewalk in front of our house I felt nostalgic thinking about how my daughter was doing what I had once done.
As a child I would drag all my stuffed animals outside in our side yard in the country and set them up on a blanket and cuddle with them and care for them by covering them with blankets.
Even in our youth we women seem to have that mother instinct already ingrained in us it seems. We cradle and rock babies and whisper to them it’s all going to be okay even if we aren’t sure what okay means.
“What are you doing?” a small, slightly indignant voice brought me from rural memories back to the reality of the concrete surface of town life.
“I’m hugging the bears,” I answered, sure she would agree with my reason. “They need a hug right?”
Her expression was a mix of disgust and pity.
“Mama, they don’t need hugs,” she said and I swear I saw her tiny toddler eyes roll up just like a teenager. “They’re just toys.”
And just like that she burst my sentimental bubble of imagination and shattered it in a million pieces on the ground with her cruel dose of reality.
Then I hugged the fluffy white bear and sniffled a little in its’ fluffy fur.
That’s okay. Someday she’d be old enough to understand that stuffed animals need hugs too.
I used to be a writer. I used to be able to string words together and have them make sense. Now my brain is jumbled in my head, mixed with toddler demands and elementary basketball and dinner and karate classes and nap time. I won’t even mention all the rest of the mess Facebook pours in there time and time again, which is one reason I’ve begun enacting long Facebook breaks.
Once upon a very different time I wrote columns for the paper and they were filled with stories of my son. Mothers and grandmothers loved the stories. Someone didn’t and let me know in black permanent ink scrawled all over my column and shoved in the front mail slot. They didn’t care about my stupid teddy bear and no one cares about my kid they told me. I always thought it was nice of my co-workers to share that with me. I suppose they were subtly letting me know they didn’t care either. After all, one of my bosses let me know no one cares too. We had a closed door meeting about it and it was suggested I find other topics to write about. I suppose if I had rambled about politics it would have been more acceptable. It’s weird, though, years after I stopped writing and left the paper I’d have strangers tell me “I loved your columns. It made me think of my children when they were you .”
Still, those comments, though they only reflected a few, were enough to finally send me into hiding. I hate to admit that the haters got me but each time I start to write a voice whispers to me, “no one cares.” If I try to ignore it I here “no one cares about your teddy bear and your kids.” Which is sad really, because I care about my kids and someone else cares about their kids and maybe together we can find some common ground, but only if I write something and they see it and they “get it.”
So, I’m trying to write again. Sometimes I’ll write about dumb things that someone out there doesn’t care about. I’ll probably write about my kids. I’ll probably ramble on about my old teddy bear. I doubt I’ll ever write about politics because it stresses me out. Sometimes I’m sure the voices will get the best of me and I won’t share. But sometimes I plan to shove the voices behind a closed, locked door, blast some TobyMac or Needtobreathe, and write even if I feel like no one cares.
“I got dreams that keep me up in the dead of night
Telling me I wasn’t made for the simple life
There’s a light I see, but it’s far in the distance
I’m asking you to show me some forgiveness
It’s all for you in my pursuit of happiness.”
This month we celebrated my littlest’s second birthday so I thought I’d share some photos of her from last month for this month’s 10 on 10 with the girls from The Bloom Forum.
To continue the circle find the link at the bottom of the post.
Next up in the circle is Elizabeth at Life with a Peanut and a Zoybean!
I’ve noticed recently, from what I see on Instagram and Facebook, a few things that good photographers (apparently) do:
Make sure there is sun flare in every single photo they take and if it isn’t there add it in Photoshop.
Take photos of your young children in a cart at target because target is..? High end Walmart?
Take photos of your babies in sinks (don’t forget the sun flare).
Take blurry photos but say it was “free lensed” which will make it trendy.
Take photos of your children splashing in puddles.
Take black and white photos of your children looking moody behind a leaf, leaves or tree limb.
Take photos of children on a swing, from underneath, make sure the sky is blue (sunflare? why yes, please).
Take photos of a child in a field of sunflowers (don’t forget the sun flare).
Take photos of your sleeping baby dressed in vintage clothes on completely white sheets (you should probably add some sun flare… Just to be sure.).
Take a photo of your child looking soulfully out of a large window.
Take a photo of a couple very small in one corner of the frame with rolling hills behind them (yes, duh. Add sun flare).
Take a photo of your child’s face illuminated only by the light of an iPad, leappad or something with the word pad or starting with the letter “I.”
Any other things good photographers should do? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. I may have done one or two of these things. *wink* except adding sun flare that wasn’t already there.
I have been watching a trend in photography in recent years of photographers purposely dressing and posing children as if they are adults. It’s not a trend I am a fan of because I feel like our society is rushing children out of their childhood.
Dressing children in stylish clothes, posing them in a field and telling them to give their best model face or runway walk does not appeal to me and neither do the resulting photos. It’s not, of course, the stylish clothes that bother me. Stylish clothes are always wonderful. It’s the idea of coaching a child to look older than they are.
I also don’t support making high school senior girls look like women on a street corner of a major city in their senior photos, but that’s another post for another time.
I enjoy showcasing childhood as it is.
When I photograph children I want them to look like children.
Children have plenty of time to look fierce. For now they should be able to simply embrace the joy of childhood.
Children do not always have a smile on their face so I’m not saying photos of childhood should only feature smiling children. There is a place for “fierce” looking images, but I’m not a fan of coaching a child to look this way.
I find myself drawn to the beauty of childhood in all it’s forms: the smiling and the crying moments. My goal is to capture the now of a childhood not the rush of childhood into adulthood.
I know I run the risk of sounding like an old fart here, but to me we push our children to grow up too fast.
Let them be little.
Let them be children.
Let them revel in the innocence that is so short lived.
I love photographing children as they are and who they are without asking them to dress a certain way or pose a certain way or be someone they are not.
Childhood is such a blink of the eye in his journey we call life.
I want them to savor it, not rush it.
Much like we adults need to savor life more instead of rush it.