When I started writing these looking back posts in January it was with the full intention of revisiting lovely memories and writing down all of the moments I could still remember from the 5 years of parenting before blogging. I wanted to capture the moments in time, to relive the wonderful, the challenges and to document the words that went with the photos too. I hope that if the children ever do look back at this when they grow up they will be happy to have it, or at least when they are older I will want to look back and reminisce on these sometimes overwhelming yet sometimes magical ordinary days of childhood.
The thing is, what I wasn’t planning on finding, or realising, was that I wasn’t in many of them. As I have gone through the albums of Eva’s first year I am a mere shadow, a token hand, the back of my head or a concealed face. It actually makes me really sad, and a little bit cross with myself. I am not an especially confident person, I never have been, in fact I am extremely self critical and not particularly photogenic and therefore I would shy away from the camera. Not comfortable enough in front of it I would look away, step back or simply delete precious moments because I didn’t like the way that I looked. I remember doing that but I didn’t realise what an impact that would have 6 years on.
Maybe a part of me thought there was always time for more, these baby days seemed so long at times, there was always time to lose weight or to know how to get the best angle or the flattering clothes and maybe one day I would get that fake tooth replaced that is all I can see when I look at my smile. How wrong is that?
Now, 6 years on, I would give anything to see those imperfect shots, to see not what I looked like but to see past that to the moment between us. To be reminded of the day it was taken, what we did that day, to recall a memory that I could play again and again in my head and most of all for Eva to know that I was there, because I was there, every single day.
So this is for Eva, baby girl I may not have been confident in front of the camera and yes I am still working on that somewhat but I want you to know that the thing I was confident in was you, and I promise you, I was there. I was there every single day, the ones where we would smile, where we would full on belly laugh, I was the hand that held yours as you were sick and crying, I was the chest you slept on when nowhere else would do, I was the person to hold you on my hip through the toughest of allergy times or with my face buried in the pram as close to yours as possible to make sure you knew I was still there. I was the one to show you the world, to take you on a plane, to feel your feet in the sand and the wind in your dwindling baby hair, I was there to babble with you, to talk to you and to allow you to talk back, to bath you and hug you and sometimes to cry with you too. We were learning together but I promise, I was there.
The most beautiful thing I have come to realise is that you didn’t care what I looked like, because all you can see even to this day is me. The mother that you know, you know me, my face, so incredibly instinctively and so very well that you don’t see the daily flaws that I do, you look in my direction and you don’t stop there, you don’t stop at my face, you see past the surface without even realising and you look inside, or don’t even really look at all. You know me in my entirety, you know me, you love me, and that makes me love me too. All you see is your Mum and I promise baby that in those moments I see that too.
I may not have been in the photos baby girl but I can assure you that if nothing else when the camera wasn’t on me, you got the best of me. You got the smiles that give me laughter lines and double chins, the laughs that throw my head back to reveal the teeth I don’t like as I was just too happy to care. The silly dances, made up rhymes and songs at the top of my voice reserved just for you, I promise baby, I was there. I don’t show the camera my bad angles, my dry skin or red eyes, my stubby fingers, chunky thighs or in need of a dye hair, I don’t show that to the camera but I show it to you. You see, I reserve all the best for you, so I am sorry that there is barely any visual reminder of these baby days in full frame but I promise you there is in my mind and I am here to write it down because baby I was there, I was there in that moment more than I could ever be in a photo.
Perfectly and fully there, in all those moments just for you and I wouldn’t change that for the world.