Elizabeth: One of my projects this year is working with long-time clients, going through their files of photographs from almost two decades now, and collaborating on ways to use the images with their voice in words capturing intimate moments and life lessons along the way. My first client, Tammy Finch, is one who has without fail, had her children and sometimes her and her hubby alongside, photographed every single year for the last 18 years. Her oldest daughter, who was 4 when I first photographed her, is now getting married in a few weeks. This project is just unfolding and has so much potential. For now, it will be an ongoing blog series accompanied by the photos that inspired her from that year in their life. But who knows what the creative process will bring, I am looking forward to help facilitate the project and give you a glimpse at a way to use photography and writing to document your life and pass down a lifetime of growth and intimate personal experiences to your families.
Oh, how completely I joined with them. Four years apart, separated by gender and personality. Joined by love of each other and me. Mothering, for me, an immersion in love. Expressed love, long constricted in childhood, continually seeking, finding an outlet in mothering.
Mothering, a vehicle for knowing–growth, self-awareness, developing power. A first burst—after a long and difficult birth, finally closing my eyes to rest, David asleep in the recliner. After a few seconds, the nurse bringing Jessie to my side, saying, “Mommy, she needs you.” My job, my responsibility, my ability to do what others cannot. Jessie’s survival, her thriving—dependent on me. Standing in that open doorway, embracing the responsibility, the power, the love. No fear, jump in, immersion.
Another early knowing—sleeping in bed with us. Jessie, and later Grady, wanting nighttime comfort. Surrounded by connection and touch during the day, both babies craving that same contact in the dark. Mothering–knowing and understanding the need, fighting the judgments of others. Finding a way to make it work for us all, creating comfort, security, and safety.
A long night with Jessie early on, she was six months or so, hurting with a recurrent ear infection. On antibiotics and a little Tylenol, Jessie struggling to sleep, in pain, wanting only to be held. David sleeping in the guest room so he could go to work in the morning. Nothing to be done while waiting for the medicine and the body to heal. I was enveloped by the need to DO something to make it all better for her. Talking to the pediatric nurse on call, late night. Knowing–a flash of realization. She just needs to BE with me. Letting her sleep on my chest all night long, her hurting ear against my heart. The warmth and the love lulling her to sleep and comfort.
Grady-new knowing. Mothering a powerful soul, active, seeking, a force onto itself. A need for space, control, and independence. Mothering as observing, waiting, stepping in only when needed. Allowing a physical power so early on. Walking at 9 months, falls and spills, a scab on his forehead most of the summer. Dressed for the day, outside to play, a few minutes later shorts and diaper off, climbing the slide. The subtle frowns of mother in law and neighbors. Allowing anyway, nurturing the powerful joy of body and movement.
Mothering–sparking souls’ growth…theirs and mine.