As a Mum of 4, and yet an only child myself, I see sibling-hood, (not sure if that’s a word but I’m using it!) through different eyes, depending mainly on if my children are getting along at that moment or not. But I also see that family no, matter how many tears and squabbles are had… is where all the love and happiness come from for all of us, and for me that’s why I champion families, of all shapes and sizes and stand by the mantra that family photographs are so important.
Love and Tears
Growning up an an only child, I yearned for brothers and sisters. I grew up on a street full of kids, and I was the only – only child. When everyone was out, I used to imagine what it would be like having my very own little person to play with all the time, I wasn’t bothered about if my imaginary sibling was a sister or a brother, I just desperately wanted someone to play with when all my friends were out. And in my little mind I thought of all the good things that growing up in a big household brought. So for me a lot of my family photographs, seem little sparse, as I had such a small family, but the love jumps out of them and the memories still spill off each photograph print.
Mum of 4
Fast forward 30-ish years, and I see what it is like growing up in a big household, as I am the mum of a four strong fully female brood. And on somedays when I am just confronted with one crying, shouting, and sometimes even screaming little person after another, I remember the peace I had growing up. Nobody to fight with over toys, nobody wearing / digging up my make up, nobody going in my room. I had privacy, and my things, were my things.
But in the quiet, I also was lonely, and would have shared every dolly I had, if it meant having someone to play with. And so in those manic moments, I remember that with the rows and shouting, also comes the laughter, and the love. The patience, the impromptu shows – with dressing up, dancing, singing, music, handstands and cartwheels made of 8 legs of varying lengths.
I love that I have the chance to see what it is like growing up with a big family, and yes as the Mum, it’s tiring, and stressful, and chaotic. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I just don’t want to forget a moment, (well maybe one or two, like when my eldest accidentally pushed my middle one into a radiator resulting in a trip to A&E, a year later and despite copious amounts of bio oil the mark is still on her cheek.) I want to capture the innocence, the mania, the playfulness, the shows, the falls. I want to document it all, for when I am old and grey and when they are running around after their respective broods, I want them to remember the moments that made them who they are.
And like it or lump it, we are what we grow up with, and I want my girls’ to grow up with, squabbles to give them assertion, laughter to give them joy and love to give them happiness and self contentment.
That’s why I love it that in my work I get the chance to meet other families, some of whom, are a bit younger with tiny babies, while others are further down the path. But what they all have in common is love, love for one another, and love for the family as a collective. I also love that they are investing in their future-selves, capturing the today, so that they can look back on it with a smile and a heart full of love tomorrow and the next day, year on year…forever.
Family photography is so important for every family, if you have one child, 6 children. If you have no children or maybe a fur baby instead… Take them to a photography studio and get them photographed. Or, let’s go outdoors and get some outdoor family photographs. Wherever you want them taking lets photograph your family and bank those photographs ready for tomorrow. One Grandma recently said on receipt of her Family photographs, ” …I’m so proud of all my children and Grandchildren, I love my photos, they are in pride of place…” That’s exactly my point, we put up prints of birds on our walls, and trophies of competitions our kids have won… But what are you most proud of? For me it is absolutely my family. They should be in pride of place on the walls in every room, or at least the rooms you frequent the most. They are your art, your memories, your happy place.
Smiles for the future
As I get older I realise that the most momentous moments, that we cherish and will continue to love and remember, are just the ordinary everyday times – My biggest little girl helping her little sisters with her things, the little conversations they have. The ‘shows’ they put on. These are the moments, that will shape their futures, and in the next 30 years when they are enjoying their own little moments with their little people and I have a few more wrinkles and am watching the shows of my Grand babies, I will look around my house and smile, at the photographs of yester-year shining out the memories of the past.
Now is the time to enjoy every moment, because as brilliant as it is to look at the photographs, the now is what they will remind us of. So let those memories be full of love and laughter, cuddles and kisses. The odd stumble and fall, maybe even a tear or two… but let us be together and feel it, and grow up together, investing in our shared history each day.
To have a chat about capturing your family… to put on your walls, contact me here.