Thursday, 24 November 2016

little stories

A text conversation with a friend prompted me to write this blog post. I had shared on Instagram how I love making photo books with my Instagram pictures. She sent me a text saying that this had reminded her of my blog posts, and that she missed them. I told her that even if I wanted to write more on this blog, I am not taking enough photos to accompany posts. She talked about how, perhaps it was to do with the change of light as we approach Winter, and this is so very true. I certainly take less photos at this time of year.

This text conversation came back to me when I went for a run this evening. Almost exactly four years ago, I ran a mile a day for thirty days, and shared a photo on Instagram of each run as a way of documenting the process. It was quite a challenge to find novel things to photograph each day for thirty days, particularly as light was not on my side. Most of my runs were in the dark, but somehow, I managed to complete the challenge. (To give context to the photo at the top of this post, I took it while running this evening.) This got me thinking about why I used to write regularly in this space, and it has a lot to do with stories. I am no storyteller, but I like to record and photograph the simple stories of our days, because my memory is just not reliable. I am in no doubt that in ten years time, I will not remember what our days looked like in this season of life, and that matters to me. Perhaps this sounds a little morbid, but I often think about the fact that if I were to die while my children were very young, they would not remember me. So I want to leave them with photos and stories. Even if I live for many more years, these stories will still be precious memories for us as a family to look back on and see how we grew and changed together and individually.

When I stopped writing this blog, I had been disheartened for a long time that I had such a tiny readership. Although deep down I knew this didn't matter, I couldn't shake the feeling of, 'who am I doing this for, really? If I just want to record what goes on in our family, it really doesn't need to be broadcast to the world.' So, I have spent the last year or so recording family life in a way that works for now - through daily photos, one second videos and by writing a couple of lines in my One Line A Day' diary.

The details of stories are important to me. Fairly early on in our relationship, my husband introduced me to the phrase, 'go to the end now' as a way of indicating that he wanted me to get to the crux of whatever story I was telling. This was not the first time someone had kindly indicated to me that perhaps not everyone cares for all of the details in a retelling of an event. But I do. I want to hear the highs and lows and understand the full shape of a story. One of the challenging things about motherhood and friendship is the opportunity for holding a conversation with friends without interruption. I suppose that is one of the reasons I like writing here. To record the stories of my family that I want to remember. I love stories. I love the details of stories and knowing the whole journey. For me, photos and songs are like landmarks along the way. In this season of life when I have had less time to write, I keep on taking photos and sharing snippets of stories on Instagram, so that I will remember. Photos join up the dots of stories where the words have not been written. And maybe, just maybe, I will return to sharing some of those stories here.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

the 52 Project: 45/52


Dear Ruby,
We are in the middle of birthday season at the moment, and I love seeing how your understanding of birthdays has evolved over this year. You have fully embraced the tradition of singing, 'Happy Birthday' in the days leading up to someone's birthday, and then sing it multiple times on the day as well. This week, Jude turned six months, and just as we did for you at six months old, we celebrated his half birthday by baking him a cake. At breakfast on Thursday morning, you said, 'We're celebrating your half birthday - are you excited? We've made you a cake.' You took such great care over decorating Jude's cake by yourself, and helped him blow out the candles. (The evidence of licking the bowl, spatula and anything else with chocolate in is still visible on your face in this photo!) You are a treasure and we love how you love Jude.
All my love,
Mummy xxx

*****************

Dear Jude,
We celebrated half a year of you being with us with a chocolate orange bundt cake which Nanny and Ruby baked for you. Ruby decorated it completely by herself, and took great pride in putting 'all the candles' in to the cake. Here's to celebrating the small milestones of life with great gusto. We love you.
All my love,
Mama xxx

The 52 Project: 44/52


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.'

Ruby - standing inside a circle of ancient Ash trees at Westonbirt Arboretum
Jude - underneath a glorious acer on his second trip to the Arboretum.