Why I love this photo

I took this photo two years ago shortly after returning from visiting my family overseas. It was the first Christmas that we’d spent together in the eleven years since I’d married my husband and moved across the world to Australia. It was a wonderful Christmas, but on returning home I was weighed down thinking about the results of the decision we’d made to live in this sun-kissed land Down Under and the price that both my family and I have paid and continue to pay. I cried for the meals we don’t have with my parents and brothers each week, for the times my Mom is sick and could do with a hot cuppa in bed in the morning and a little mother-daughter time, for the hours my father and I would spend talking about and handing on books and discussing the merits of thick-cut marmalade. I wept for the distance between my children and their grandparents, itched jealously for the time they spend with my nephew and niece and grieved for the relationship they haven’t had the time to build with the amazing husband that I am blessed to have. I felt sick staring down the corridor of the rest of our lives knowing how unlikely it is that this will ever change.

On our last day before returning to work, we went to Victor Harbour, a beautiful little South Australian town not far from where we live, and I took this picture. Those are my three little angels there walking off into the scrub, the proof of this other life that I lead all the way across the sea from my family. They are my life’s joy and worth every second of the sadness that I feel. The irony is, that as they walked off ahead of me without pausing to look back, I realised that there was a loving mother standing somewhere behind me and taking a photo of her child heading off into life, not pausing to look back and see the hopes and dreams and fears that she holds for me. Except that now I was looking back, and seeing…

Every mother knows there will be a day that her children will not need her anymore. Some look forward to the independence and embrace it with open arms. Others fear it and cling smotheringly to their children. I hope that I will handle it differently. I see that day coming somewhere in the distance, and know that it is as it must be. I don’t want my children to live looking backwards but striding confidently forward into all that the journey ahead holds for them. I want them to discover their own paths and have adventures, even if it means that it will take them far away from me. But I want to know they are safe, that they are loved and surrounded by friends. I want to know they have the equipment they need to brave the journey and so I am planning  for that day, filling  them with words and memories that will make them secure and show them that they are loved more than they can imagine. We are actively building a friendship with them today that we hope will last into adulthood. I know that they cannot know themselves yet, but that they see who they are reflected in my face and in the way that I treat them and so I reflect their best selves back to them so that they grow into the best men that they can be, and I shout out from behind them that I believe in them, that I love them and that I am so proud of who they are…just as my mother has done for me.

Thank you Mom!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 16:23:37

    Love this post Arianne!!!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Charlotte
    Mar 27, 2011 @ 20:26:51

    Like it? No! I love it! Your best blog yet! Probably because it’s my constant cry as a mum; equipping my kids for today and all their tomorrows! Derek and I are their biggest fans, first playing the game with them, and now starting to watch on the sidelines; but always cheering them on and hoping and praying that we will always be happy to play together and on the same team!

    Like

    Reply

  3. Erin
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 05:52:07

    Great post Ari.

    Like

    Reply

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