Browsing Tag

photos

One day, I’ll tell my daughter about my past

October 20, 2017
past

As my daughter’s growing up, life is becoming more and more interesting. It is said that a small child equals small problems, whereas an older child…
But that’s not all. An older child demands more logical answers to increasingly difficult questions.

Our most interesting conversations usually take place early in the mornings, when she opens her eyes, and in the evenings, when we hug each other before we go to sleep. The other night, just after I turned off the lights and tucked her in her bed (she has moved out of my bed), an unexpected question came from the darkness:

Mom, have you ever got married?

It took me by surprise, and the time wasn’t exactly opportune. I’ve never been married to her dad. Maybe her playmates from the daycare center had talked about the marriage or she was just comparing herself to other kids. Who knows?
But, she sounded worried, so I replied: “No, I only wanted to have this child. That was mattered most to me. A sigh of relief. “Mom, I’ll do the same when I grow up!”

I don’t think this has closed the subject though. Me, her father, marriage and family will be discussed many times before she becomes an adult.

And not just that.

I wondered if we should tell our kids about our past, ex-boyfriends, former husbands?

 ******

Tidying up the closets is among the most regular and preferred female activities. After a month of serious mental preparations, I recently decided to give it a go. I applied the only efficient method I knew of: I just took out the entire content of the drawers and closets, piled it up on the floor and started rummaging through it. At some point, I came across a long forgotten shoe box which stored some old photos and letters. I opened Pandora’s box filled with long suppressed memories.

******

My past is by no means a thriller, but the pages of my book of life turned slowly. One day, long ago, the present collapsed and turned into the past.

After a period of reconnecting with myself, new currents drew me away to the open sea. The past remained captured in the shoe box, offering as evidence some two-decade old photos and twenty letters or so.

******

I sat on the bedroom floor and took a long look into my past. There were photos to illustrate it, with me in them, and some people who were close to me at the time. The woman in the photos looked like me, but she was still different. She travelled. Her hair was short and blond, then a bit longer, and finally a bit darker. She looked nice, smiling, in a white silken dress, spotted with many colorful butterflies. She was getting married…

******

The past had been held captive in the photos, in the box, in the closet until I finally plucked up the courage and opened it.

I asked a friend if I should tell my daughter about my life before her some day. Would it be wise to show her, maybe not the letters, but at least the photos of her mum and that man she couldn’t possibly recognize, the man who meant so much to me in my past life?

“Keep it all”, she told me. “You’ll show it to her some day. It’s incredible how a look from the future heals everything because it is the only right way to look at it. The whole life trembles inside of us and it never gets to be told. Only our daughters will be able to make sense of it all and shed some light“.

I will take her advice. The box has kept its place on one of the lowest shelves in the closet, tucked in between the old sweaters I avoid discarding and keep storing “just in case”.

The past was beautiful while it was the present. It’s a part of me, of the way I once was, the way I’ll most likely always be. One day I’ll show it to her and we’ll look at it with her eyes. We will look at the old photos, at the good-looking, smiling bride in the colorful silken dress and at the man in dark suit. Together, we will find new words to recount my past.

Be a part of their childhood memories

February 24, 2017
memories

Before I became a mother, I had a simple travel camera. I loved to take pictures anytime anywhere, during the travels or at festivities. I made photos of others, but I liked being in them too. After I had a child, my photographic ambitions rose to a new level. Soon enough, I bought a high-quality camera, and then another state-of-the-art miracle of the digital age. While I’m writing these lines, I’m plucking up the courage to admit the purchase of the third device and thinking about a professional flash kit at the same time…

The typical syndrome of a mother dreaming of making each moment of her child’s life eternal…

Believe me, all three cameras make fantastic photos and I’ve tried to learn a thing or two about handling them properly. I’ve made a dozen beautiful photo books, which are often browsed through and commented on by my daughter. That’s right: kids love to look at photos, especially if they’re in them.

It’s all very well, except for one small detail: I’m rarely in any of those pictures. Who takes pictures of the photograph? Most of my friends are not very good at handling sophisticated devices, so I, the mother of the child, mostly operate behind the camera. Each time I make a new album, I try to find someone to take pictures of me with my child without cutting off a piece of my body or spoiling all harmony in the picture.

What’s the point of this story?

Dear mothers, try to find a place in the childhood memories of your kids. Today, when I look at the photos from my own childhood, I feel like crying when I see my mother and me. Don’t be like me, ask a passerby, a friend, anyone! The hairdo or clothes don’t matter. What matters is that your child has photos of you, that they will look at with tender feelings and show to others. Be a part of your child’s memories, and not just the eye behind the camera, the finger on the switch or the photo album designer.

Happy birthday to you…

October 10, 2016
birthday

A few words about the children’s birthday parties. I organised a party for my daughter’s birthday, so it’s still fresh in my memory. I also remember every single detail of each of her previous parties because I planned them and made them, more or less, on my own. Single or not, all mums will surely agree with me that we always carry the heaviest burden.

We celebrated the first two birthdays with family and friends. But, when my daughter turned three, she wanted to invite all her friends from the kindergarten. This also meant inviting their parents, brothers and sisters, if any. Yes, the guest list was quite long and the room was packed. Here’s some advice and a few rules I adhere to when planning my daughter’s birthday parties:

  • Start the preparations well in advance. Two months before the event is not too early. If the venue should be booked up, it will be in the nick of time. 
  • Make personalised invitations. This involves some effort, but your invitation card may become a nice keepsake and your guests will surely appreciate it.  
  • Text or email preliminary invitations beforehand. The invitations are normally sent some ten days before the party.
  • Ask the parents to confirm their attendance (if possible) so you can come up with a precise estimate of how much food and drink to buy.
  • Hire entertainers. Good or bad, they’ll spare you the trouble of entertaining and keeping the exuberant 5-year olds under control yourself (one year I made this mistake and took it upon myself to entertain the kids… never again!)
  • Hire a specialised party decorator. It pays off, trust the mother who was once forced to blow up and attach the balloons to the walls, buy and make decorations, etc.
  • Ask one of the guests to make photos. Otherwise, you may end up with a dozen blurry photos and you won’t be in any of them.
  • Bring some spare clothes and shoes for your kid. Two years ago, moments before the party, my daughter refused to wear the tooth fairy costume I’d ordered specially. I managed to find an appropriate replacement, but ended up being a nervous wreck.

There is much more I could tell you or recommend to you, but these are the basics. I’d also love to get some suggestions from you because there are many birthdays yet to come and I want them to be unforgettable.