Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Let Your Children See You

The kids are napping, and I finally have a second to sit quietly, and of course I peruse Facebook. That addiction that we all love to hate. I was just noticing that many of my mom friends take a million pictures of our kids. I know I do. My phone is almost unusable from the billion pictures I take of them almost daily. But something I've noticed: rarely are we in them. And if we are: we're in the back. They cover us.

I'm so guilty of this.

You can see my head and collarbone and that's just about it. The Jminator takes over the photo, and the SoJo covers my tummy and chest. You can't see anything I'm not proud of.

But there are many more moms that I see that only take pictures of their kids. Their profile picture is of their kids; the cover photo is of their kids and maybe the dog. Every album: kids. Every posting: food and kids.

And I hear the reasoning behind it: we're ashamed of what we look like. We're proud of our kids and we can post things about them all day long. Honestly, I find very little to be proud of daily other than the kids, and until that changes, I'm often at a loss as to what to say.

After the birth of our youngest, we were walking out to the car. The nurse (who, admittedly had some boundary issues) was telling us to find her on FB. But, we'd have a hard time finding her: her response, "When I lose the weight, I'll start taking pictures of me again."

Here's the kicker, though: For those of you who have never met me or are just joining us, my mom passed away about a year ago. Mom was an interesting lady; mental health issues, health issues, emotional issues, weight issues, you name it issues made being her daughter an interesting experience. With her passing, I've had to be responsible for all of her belongings. As I went through the photo albums one day, I noticed a trend. She had a bunch of pictures of her from the 70's; she was in her prime, and admittedly totally adorable. But there are no pictures of her pregnant in the sense we think of. I know for both my boys, I would post pics every few weeks, jokingly proud when my belly surpassed my boobs, and what didn't fit anymore, etc. There were a few candid shots, where I don't think she knew anything about them, but that's it.

What's even more surprising; for someone who once liked having her picture taken; there are very few un-posed, professional pictures of the two of us. And even fewer where she's smiling. Before you jump ahead of me, let me explain: mom had an eating disorder. I say that: mom had all of the eating disorders at one time or another. Couple that with a devastatingly low self-esteem, and a few delusions we don't have time for, and she all of a sudden hid from the camera like a rabbit from a wolf. The kid in me is pretty devastated by this: after all, wasn't she happy with me? Was she ashamed of me? No, quite the opposite. She was just insecure enough for both of us.

Mommas, listen to me: let your kids see you happy to be with them and have the pictures to prove it. Looking back on the pictures I do have with her, I don't notice her size, her hair, or her clothes, but I do notice that the smile looks forced and fake. I can tell someone said, "Stay there! I want to get a picture!" and she complied.

There's no scripture here, obviously, since cameras weren't exactly a part of Levitical law. But just take it from a Mom, who misses her mom, who wished sometimes that her mom missed her sometimes.

Let people see you. Let your kids see you. Some day, it'll be all they have left.

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