A facebook post that Pink Lining put up before the weekend has been plaguing my thoughts all weekend and I have tried to put in out of my mind but just can't.
They had a link to an article on The Huffington Post, entitled 'The mom stays in the picture' and it has set me on a mission to find how many pictures there are with me and my children that actually reflect the true day to day me of how I look 99% of the time. Let's face it, with three children, one of whom is a baby, one on the autistic spectrum and with the two older ones homeschooled, I barely find the time to even brush my hair, let alone blow-dry or straighten it! My contact lenses only actually make it anywhere near my eyes on very special occassions. And as for make-up - what make-up? I have had the same make-up kit I had as a teenager, as having been used so little since having children, it has lasted so long!
I looked through all the photo albums we have of when the children were younger and looked through a fair few of the digital snaps we have on the PC and whilst there are some with me with each child at Christmas and on Birthdays (less and less as time has gone on though), I couldn't find any of me in 'normal' state.
I was all set to put a 'normal, day to day me' piccy up but could not find one so have asked my son to take a picture today.
And if you compare it to my 'hair tidy, contact lenses in, make up on' public face you'll see on my facebook profile...you'll see what I mean.
I am still kicking myself when a week ago, for my birthday, one of my son's had gone out with granny and secretly bought me two little glass swans - a mummy swan and a little swan to represent him and me - and as he snuggled in whilst I was opening it, daddy went to take a photo and I snapped 'no photos today'. Why oh why did I say that. I was having a day of feeling ugly inside and out and my ugly behaviour reflected it. I just SO wish I had let him take those photos and if I didn't like them, then I just wouldn't have to look at them again but at least my son would be able to look at them in future and it would trigger what should have been a really happy memory of giving me that special present.
I take lots of photos of my children because they are so precious to me, and yet I never realised until today that actually I am really precious to them too (and I'm sure there is a lesson for me to learn here about wanting to be a good role model for our children not to judge by appearances, then I need to learn not to judge myself by appearance in terms of being selective about when to appear in photos!)
After all, as Allison Tate rightly points out in her Huffington post article, we have no idea how long we are going to be around for our children. When I lost my mum 10 years ago, I dug out and spent hours looking at EVERY single photo I had of her. She died very suddenly and unexpectedly one day and I wished so much that I had more photos of her. I remember having an unfinished film in the camera and I wished so hard that there would be one more picture that I had forgotten about but when I developed the film, there was not. The value of each photo became priceless to me because each photo unlocked a memory...
...I found photos of her and me as a baby when she celebrated my birthday each MONTH until I was a year old (how amazing is that?), and then went to the norm of having an annual birthday party like most people do.
...I found photos of me and her with flowers. She loved flowers. Whenever there were fresh flowers in the house it represented a photo opportunity for her regardless of how she looked. Why oh why did I not buy her flowers every week whilst she was still with us!
...I found photos of her with her yellow mini. Her favourite car because it was yellow (her favourite colour) and she could fit it into the smallest of parking spaces.
Each photo is like a key, a key that helps unlock that memory. And I have decided that from today, I am going to leave my children with a big bunch of keys to unlock those precious memories with when I am no longer here.