My friend Kira has been talking about starting her own photography studio for almost as long as I've known her. She always has a camera in her hands, just like I'm most likely found hunched over my laptop squinting (and cursing) at my novel. But the other day she asked me to play guinea pig and let her practice talking portraits on me, and I very grudgingly agreed. I feel like an idiot in front of a camera--never know what to do with my arms and legs, and usually end up stuffing myself into a ball and looking at the camera as if to say "I am soooo not amused." Because usually I'm not. And more to the point, no one needs to see the kind of state I'm usually in--all no-makeup-ed-ponytailed-and-sweatpant-ed-out.
Yes, I could go to the trouble of doing my hair, and wearing makeup, and putting something on besides sweatpants and crocs--but really, what's the point? I'm either at the gym, or in my house, and I don't think John's preschool teachers or Sam's bus driver care whether I'm wearing lipstick or not.
But then sometimes you see a picture of yourself and have a moment where you think, "That's me? No way!"
I had a reaction like that when I saw this picture:
Sometimes I feel like motherhood has ruined whatever looks I might've once had. My face is fuller, my body is wider, and saggier, my hair keeps changing colors and textures, I haven't gotten a truly restful night's sleep in over 6 years, I have frown lines, scream lines, and wrinkles--and I'm getting new ones all the time. Most days I look in the mirror and am just glad I still recognize myself.
But then I see a picture like this, and suddenly everything makes sense. I look like the older, wiser, more maternal version of my merely pretty (but completely inexperienced) younger self. Ten years ago I didn't have the first clue how to be a mother or what to do with children. But the expression on John's face--all that love for his Mommy--shows me that somehow, I've figured it out. And it makes all the things I've lost in the looks department pale in comparison to all that I've gained. :-)