A few years ago, Jack signed up for a digital photography course at one of the “Great Camps” in the Adirondacks. He is a very good photographer but wanted to expand with more digital photography. At the last-minute, he couldn’t go, and his money could not be refunded, so I took his place. I was hoping to get some basic help, like how to turn a camera on.
I had, at some point in my adult life, grown “picture-taking averse”. It seemed like every time my mother visited, she had her camera slung around her neck, and was forever making everyone pose. I resented this (as I resented many things about my mother) and so I guess I had subconsciously boycotted cameras and picture-taking.
I was talking to a friend the other day about parenting (she has 2 young teenage boys) and the challenges of knowing how to raise them. Since I had my sons in my early-mid 20′s, and had not worked through a lot of my own family/growing up issues, I told her that when I got into a situation with them and I didn’t know what to do, a lot of times I would think about my mother, about how she would handle it, and then, I’d do the opposite. Not a sound child-raising theory, I know.
I found it hard to see that my mother had any wisdom at all, and I wasn’t looking for it. I was looking for all that she did “wrong”…and I found that. When I look through my photo albums these days, and see photographs of my sons as babies, little boys, young men… I am so grateful that my mother took those pictures. That she tolerated my “attitude” and took the pictures anyway. I see my mother differently these days. I have widened my lens with a new intention of seeing the good…and I am finding that too. Lots more of it then I ever expected.