She’s pretty amazing, my mum.
When I told her I was moving overseas, she gave me nothing but encouragement and support to go out and embrace the adventure I so desperately wanted, and it’s only now, with children of my own, that I truly understand how difficult that must have been.
When I had Tilly, she flew out to Sydney to support me and ensure someone was there with me while Paul had to be a million and one different places, including the other side of the world, during the latter weeks of my pregnancy. She kept me blissfully unaware of dramas that were going on at home and must have been playing on her mind constantly, to avoid adding any stress to an already overly-complex, pre-eclampsia and PSD ridden end of my pregnancy. She patiently sat and rubbed my purple swollen feet a few times a day so that I could squeeze them into sandals to go and have my check ups, or just get outside and remember the rest of the world that was still happening around me. And when we were in the delivery room and all the alarms started sounding and we realised that the only way that baby would come out safely was via a very unplanned and emergency caesarean, she quietly stood back and watched it all happen, silently taking the back seat while Paul and I disappeared to theatre and left her sitting there wondering and waiting what was happening with her own first born and her precious new granddaughter.
When said granddaughter arrived, and was nothing like the calm, peaceful, compliant little soul I was expecting, my mum paced the lounge with her through the early hours of the morning, so that we could get two solid hours of sleep, probably flooding her mind with memories of her own introduction to motherhood with an equally feisty and fractious daughter! She understood how passionately I felt about getting breastfeeding right, and how, given it had not been as straight forward for us as I had optimistically anticipated, I knew that for that to work I needed to spend copious hours bonding with my girl, having skin to skin, holding her, focusing soley on her. So mum cooked, cleaned, made sure our fridge was stocked and our washing was done. And when we were in the middle of it, I probably didn’t realise just how lucky I was… but now I've had time to reflect, see the various ways that these things can work, and I realise I really have been blessed with the best mum.
She did the same when Zac arrived, came out to California, in spite of knowing how the last time had turned out. Thankfully, my second child was a much calmer little soul on arrival, and I was also probably a much more confident and zen mother, second time around.Mum still made sure that i didn't have to think about washing or cooking, but there was time for her to sit and cuddle our second little love, without it being just to give me a break.
And now we’re back in England – almost ten years later, after telling her a few short months after she’d given up waiting for us to come back and moved out of the area, that we were returning to Surrey – she still regularly drives the two-hour journey to come and look after my children while I’m teaching workshops, or I have a client who can’t do my regular working days for their session. She understands when I don’t call her back for days because there’s just too much going on, she remembers what Tilly is doing at school and she patiently listens to Zac’s two year old ramblings on the phone, long after most would have given up trying to understand. She fills our lives with tiny every day miracles.
She’s a bit glamorous and a bit comfy. She’s friendly to everyone and considers people’s feeling above all else, but not scared of looking silly for the sake of having fun. She’s entirely selfless and has got a patience and persistence like no other – if there is a way to make something work she will. She’ll feed you until you’re fit to pop and always makes sure that everyone else is comfortable and has everything they need above everything else. She’s great for sharing a bottle of wine and a sneaky bar or chocolate or bag of crisps with, and that is the best time to find that wicked sense of humour!
So with Mothers Day fast approaching, I’ve been talking about being present in photographs with your children, and how important that is to me. Over on A Happy Capture (my photography workshops that I run along with my friend and fellow photographer Abigail Fahey) we’ve been running a Mothers Day competition to exist in photos for your children, and encouraging followers to take a selfie with their children to be in with the chance of winning a place on one of our workshops. I’ve also made it a personal aim this year to ensure that I set the timer or hand over the camera (my 6 year old is getting pretty nifty with it) and get on the other side of the lens and in the frame with my children every once in a while.
But I suddenly realised that I don’t remember the last time I was in a photograph with my own mum! I often capture her with my children, and I hold those photographs very dear, but as is naturally the way, whenever there is any sort of event or gathering, I’m the one with the camera, so I’m never in any of the photographs! I’m off to meet my fantastic mum to celebrate Mothers Day with her this weekend, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to set the timer, or ask someone else to take a photograph or two, and maybe it’s time I started looking into booking a photography session for my own family - I'll be the first to admit that you can't match having a snapshot of your life captured by a professional memory maker!
If you’d like to book a relaxed and natural photography session for your own family, whether it's with or without the grandparents, you can contact me for more information here.