“Look! I’m Being a Mommy Right Now!”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This week The Youngster’s summer camp gifted all the kids with mini photo albums: these little black books the size of a slim clutch that hold plenty of 4×6 prints. The task was for them to add photographs of their family, friends and favorites things.

Sweet gesture, right?

It was also an unexpected, gentle push for me to finally print out some of the eleventy-hundred photographs I shoot on a weekly basis. So we came home yesterday, went straight upstairs to my office to crack open some photo paper and get busy. Although my son was giggly and hand-clapp-y about our project, I was definitely more excited about things. Photography just makes me giddy, man.

He picked out the images he wanted flagged and printed, hovering by my shoulder like a top-shelf, NYC photo editor. We printed them out, one by one, and he was careful to not put his fingers on the photo when removing from the printer. He even directed me on the order in which the prints should go in this fine album.

“The ice cream cone one next. Now the one with Talulah. Good job, Mom.”

It was high on the cute.

As the printer slowly spit the images out, I could see my son’s 4-year-old-ness stirring. He was getting a bit bored, and decided to move from the rug where I sat back up to my desk. He pulled out the chair — asking for a little help to keep the thing from rolling around — and sat down, grinning. Next he put on my glasses, grabbed some of my stationery and my purple glass of pens, and started writing/drawing/doodling.

“Look! Can you guess what I am?” he said, barely look my way.

“No, what are you?”

“I’m a Mommy. I’m being a Mommy right now, and I’m working.”

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All I could muster was a soft “mmm-hmm.” And I was kind of glad he didn’t spin all the way around to look at me, because I was basically melting into the area rug.

He does see. He sees me. He sees me being a Mommy, working. That’s always been important to me: that my kid sees some of the different parts that make up his Mommy. I’m the person who makes your lunch, gives you baths and kisses and orange juice, helps you make puzzles and fill photo albums, but I’m also the person in a home office doing this other thing called writing, working with words and building stories.

Before I could rest in this winning moment, The Youngster was sliding out of the chair, off to fiddle with the stapler on my short filing cabinet. But it was OK, because sometimes being Mommy means doing that too.

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