Peek A Boo, I see you.... but you don't see me, do you?
I swear, this is how my children will remember me when they are old and grey.
"My mother? What did she look like? Brown hair. Well, sometimes it was brown. Others it was red. And once, there was this experiment with pink... but it was long. I think. Sometimes it may have been short. Her eyes? Well, one was always closed, or at least kinda squinty like. The other was REALLY BIG and made these wierd mechanical noises. I'm not sure about the rest of her face, I just remember this big black box... and a bright light. What? My time is up? Thanks Doc, I'll see you next week."
It's convenient to be the only one in the family who really knows how to use the big, scary camera. It means that, invariably, I'll be the one directing the sweet family photoshoot, rather than being subjected to being IN it. When my boys are grown, they'll undoubtedly have a treasure trove of memories of their father- Eric and the boys fishing, riding carnival rides, at a baseball game, helping them unwrap presents on the holidays. But Mom.. mom will be a shadow on the wall.
What's the deal with women and hiding behind the camera? When I teach my 101 photography class that is one of the top things women mention-- "If I learn to use the camera, I don't have to be in the picture!" We hate the way we look- our hair, our chins, our eyes, our thighs. So we take ourselves out of the equasion entirely, sentencing our children to an incomplete memory book.
Some women take another tack altogether- I had to choke back the laughter when a woman told me that she'd taught herself how to airbrush her own pictures, going so far as to pay over $500 for a photoshop class. "I remove all of my wrinkles, my jowls, and take some out of my waist and off my thighs," she said. "Of course, that's if I'm even IN the picture. Most of the time I take it so I don't have to be."
So, I'm making a commitment. No more hiding behind the camera. Now, I"ll take those pictures with my kids. I'll hand the camera over to Flake. I'll grin and bear it, chubby cheeks and all. Because in 30 years, will my boys really give a damn that my butt needed it's own zip code?