May 10, 2009

Secret Mother's Day Project

Making a Mother's Day gift

For the past few years, I’ve taken photos everyday. This habit seems to please some of my blog readers and flickr friends – who, really, just encourage such behavior – but it often drives the people I live with crazy. The typical response of a teenage boy to a mother and a camera is NOT a cooperative smile. (Actually, the typical response of a teenage boy to his mother and ANYTHING is rarely a cooperative smile.) My husband hates how often I’ll stop to take photos when we’re on a romantic walk. He’ll turn to kiss me and see that I’ve suddenly run down to the water to take a picture. He has been known to ask wistfully, as we leave for a walk, “Any chance you might leave the camera home?”

But the little neighbor kids have always been happy to accompany me to the railroad tracks or into the woods while I take photos. They move at the same pace as me, taking their time, stopping to look at things and explore. “You can bring your camera,” Little Biker Boy will always say to me when he’s trying to get me to do something fun. He knows the presence of the camera means I’ll meander about and lose track of time. The result is that I have hundreds of pictures of Ponytail and Little Biker Boy, all taken in natural light.

So last week, we chose the best 100 photos of Ponytail and Little Biker Boy, and had them printed out. Then we put them in an album for them to give to their Mom for Mother’s Day. She doesn’t have many photos of Little Biker Boy – he was missing for several years and she just got him back last fall – so I knew she would be happy to get the pictures. For that matter, since she doesn’t have a camera, she doesn’t have many photos of Ponytail either.

The two kids had fun looking at the photos and re-arranging them. Little Biker Boy kept noticing details that I would have paid no attention to: “See, I have my old sneakers on in the one!” and Ponytail liked best the photos in which she is being completely silly. Because most of the portraits were taken in late afternoon light, which is when I usually spend time with the kids, they came out great. And it felt good to give the photos to the person who would appreciate them the most.

20 comments:

Brigindo said...

What a lovely present.

mayfieldflowerrn said...

You are a beautiful soul, dear lady...and a blessing to those two children and their mother.

Happy Mother's Day to you, also.

M

kathy a. said...

what an incredibly sweet gift -- not just to the mom, but the kids especially.

kericronin said...

What a wonderful idea!

RageyOne said...

I bet their mom really likes that gift! Such a thoughtful gesture.

Songbird said...

A belated Happy Mother's Day, jo(e), with love.

Kyla said...

That was a wonderful idea!

Happy Mother's Day, jo(e)!

Ianqui said...

Sweet and sad at the same time. Happy belated Mother's Day.

Lomagirl said...

Bless you!

kristin said...

I wish I had half the patience and wonderment that you possess.

Lorianne said...

Very sweet. I had to chuckle at your description of walking with kids & a camera, because I think my DOG feels the same way. I wander around taking pictures, and he wanders around sniffing & peeing. Everyone wins. :-)

Rana said...

What a wonderful idea!

- Your children, if they haven't already, need to learn the art of sensing the presence of a camera and casually arranging themselves in a flattering way while not looking like they're posing. My brother and I had to learn this skill early, because my dad was prone to taking unattractive candids if you weren't alert.

- I don't need a camera to be hard to walk with - I interrupt conversations to remark on random things, veer to the sides of walks to stare at bugs, and so on. (You and Lorianne have experienced some of this, I think.) The camera at least gives me an excuse.

- There are walks to take pictures and there are walks with people - it's rare for me to go on a walk that permits both, so it's great that you have such willing companions and subjects. :)

Madeleine said...

I think you may be the best neighbor in the history of neighborness.

lizardek said...

"missing for several years" ???! *shudders* --- good lord. :(

How wonderful that you've put so much time into befriending this family. :)

Magpie said...

You are the divine fairy of motherly-ness. What a treat for those kidlets.

liz said...

lizardek said EXACTLY my first thought and Magpie said my second.

KathyR said...

What Madeleine said. I only know enough about my neighbors to complain about them! You are awesome.

Bluestem said...

You are a very very nice person, and nice things should happen to you daily.

BerryBird said...

Oh, Jo(e), this was such a good thing to do. Their Mom will absolutely treasure this gift.

Lilian said...

Oh, this is just such a beautiful, wonderful idea!! These kids and their mom must love you and they'll never forget you, no matter where their life paths lead.

Now, you piqued my curiosity... was the boy missing b/c he was in foster care? My hear goes out to these kids and their troubled little lives and I'm sure yours goes too. It's great they can have you and your family in their lives. I hope the situation at home has improved some... do update us if you can.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is 2 things:

1) I'm the same way with photos and my family has gotten used to it. My lovely boys willingly (and sometimes a little less so) pose for me, but I know the teenage years will come ;-). I had to laugh when you mentioned your husband.

2) You're still truly a child, that's why you and your neighbor kids have this mutual understanding. This is something that I also strive for, keeping the child that I am alive.