Like many mothers, I often find myself behind the camera instead of in front of it. I don't often find myself in front of the camera, and when I do I rarely like what I see. It's easier to hind behind my lens and capture memories of my amazingly beautiful children than it is to hand the camera off to someone else and put myself in front of it. Of course, we now live in the day and age of cell phones and selfies, and my older two have started asking more and more for selfies with mommy. Sometimes I oblige and then sit there criticizing every wrinkle and grey hair. Sometimes I make up an excuse why I can't right now just to avoid having to look at my adorable children next to the tired looking mess that is their mother.
It has to stop. My children want pictures with me, and I want to give them that. It's easy to say to myself "When I get my greys dyed." or "When I loose 20lbs.", but they want the pictures now and they shouldn't have to go without that because their mother struggles with her self esteem. One of the reasons I love photography and being the person behind the lens is that it is a way for me to capture memories forever. Memories of my children as babies, spending all to rare time with their extended families, remembering those milestones that are so precious...and I owe it to them to give them those memories of me too. It's easy to say "later...after...when...", but what if, God forbid, that day doesn't come. What if I get sick? What if there is an accident? What if there isn't a chance for me to leave those memories for them? All that aside, what if they just look at me one day when I am far older and more wrinkled and ask "Mom, why aren't there any pictures of you and me when I was small?"
So, I have decided that 2016 is the year of being in front of the camera as much as I am behind it...almost. 2016 is the year I am going to launch my personal Be In The Picture project. (I even made neat little tags on Instagram! #beinthepictureproject and #beinthepictureproject2016) I am going to do it. For them. For my husband. For myself. Not only am I going to try to be in the picture more, but I'm going to try to see me how they see me. Strong, and funny, and with a belly that "wobbles all silly". (And he said it like it was a good thing, my Bash!) I'm going to try to see the beauty they do instead of the wrinkles and grey hair and sleepy bags.
We went to Garden of the Gods on Saturday, and I made a conscious effort to be in front of the camera more despite the fact that my hair was in a messy pony tail, I looked tired because the little girl hadn't been sleeping well, and I was in work out clothes. I made sure to be in both my cell phone camera pictures and my Canon, which I had Michael carry knowing that he would be more likely to get pictures of me that way. (I only have cell phone pictures in this post.) I had a lot of fun showing Alex around, climbing up and down beautiful rock formations, and taking goofy pictures with my family. I have to do it more often. I want all these memories to include me too after all.
Eleanor hasn't been herself. Her brothers have passed a cough and runny nose down to her, and while that seems to be all that it is, it's keeping her up nights. Lack of sleep=tired, cranky baby. On the other hand, she was perfectly content to be worn the entire time we were at Garden of the Gods, and even fell asleep with the sun shade over her head after awhile. Even tired and not smiling she is gorgeous!
I am firmly convinced that Garden of the Gods is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado!
"Mommy! Take a picture of us!" I don't even have to pose them. They just automatically grab onto one another as if they never want to let go. I love these boys so very much!
These are my "Happy Shoes", because they make me happy to wear. Yes, I sing Pharrell's song in my head every time I put them on. Sometimes I sing it out loud. I love these shoes!
When I say "Hey, Alex, come here!" she immediately pops up around my shoulder for a goofy picture. Because she is my SisterCousin, and that is how we do things in this family. I am so, so glad that she decided to come visit us out here in Colorado!
I usually wouldn't have shared this picture. I am not thrilled with how I look in it at all, but it's me and my husband and a baby photo bomb, and I want to look back on it one day and laugh! So, here we are. Not perfect, but pretty darn awesome! #beinthepictureproject
I love this picture, and wish it was on the camera instead of just my phone! It's contrasty, and off centered, and about as amateur as you can get, but I love it. We were all "baby wearing", even though for Michael and Alex that meant that they were giving piggy back rides without the help of my rocking Ergo. You can see all 6 of us, even the top of Eleanor's little head, and we all look so freaking happy! I love it! It's currently my profile picture on Facebook. I want it framed. I love my family!
I love this man. I am doing this Be In The Picture thing for him too. I want these pictures. I want them for him if anything were to ever happen to me, and I want them for us when we are old and grey and remembering. I've spent the last fourteen years of my life with him as my partner, and I want a record of the next 70 years too!
"Mommy! Take a selfie with me!"
"I think that makes it an Us-ie then."
"Okay. Let's take an us-ie."
We took this one three times, because we needed three times, but we are still pretty awesome. (And this one was so much better than the one before it. Be In The Picture project or not, there was no way I was posting that!)
All three of my boys want to rock climb. They watched a group of young men climbing while we were there, and then chattered excitably about how they would do that one day. It makes Mommy a nervous wreck, but even Alex argued that they have "safe" places to do it. It seems I am outnumbered. I wonder if it will embarrass them to have their mother running around beneath them with a mattress yelling "Don't worry, sweetie! I'll catch you!"
Be in the picture, friends. You can even hashtag it on Instagram! Just be in the picture.