My husband came home this week and told me his coworkers seemed stressed and annoyed with the expectations of Mother’s Day and the gifts they need to buy their wives. I’m not a fan of all the fluff and stuff associated with major holidays. A few years back a male coworker said “I don’t want to disappoint my wife, but I have no idea what to buy.” That seems like a lot of unwanted stress; a husband feeling stressed over his wife’s disappointment.
I’m a fan of giving gifts and performing nice gestures at random times throughout the year. I’d give up holidays like Mother’s Day in a heartbeat for a nice back massage on a Tuesday evening or french toast cooked on a Sunday morning alongside my newborn and three year old. Forget fancy jewelry and roses, both seem like a complete waste to me.
The best thing my husband could do is exactly what he did. Yesterday he processed the hundreds of photos I shot over the past two weeks.
I’ve always been a perfectionist and before my children were born I absolutely refused to pick up my husband’s camera. I didn’t think I’d master the art of photography so why even bother.When my son was born my perspective changed completely.
The first photographs I took were too dark, improperly focused and poorly balanced, but I didn’t care. The sweet face looking at me through the other side of the lens was worth capturing no matter the end result.
I’ve picked up that camera multiple times a week for the past three and a half years and now have two beautiful children to capture.
One of the best mother’s day gifts is one I gave to myself. The ability to look back over thousands of photographs that capture the tiny, miniscule changes as my infant son transformed into a little boy.
Alongside the photographs are hundreds of videos that capture the sights and sounds from a baby who cooed and giggled to a toddler just learning to speak. I pull that video camera out a few times a week and record events that seem utterly mundane. There we are cooking dinner together. There we are watering the flowers, washing rocks and picking flowers.
When I look back I remember how my son talked, the sounds he could or couldn’t make, the phrases he repeated and the way he skipped and hopped throughout the rooms in our house. I have memories of many of these events, but its so easy to forget the tiny details.
When my son was just a few months old I began writing a journal. My initial intent was to record my thoughts and feelings so that he could know how much I loved him. As time progressed I realized the journal was a gift to myself. It’s like a time capsule that I can open anytime I want. A time capsule that reveals my most intimate feelings.
On this Mother’s Day I looked through the photos, both new and old, watched a few videos and revisited the journal I began so long ago. My intention was to leave these gifts as a legacy to my children. I now realize the true gift is for myself.