This blog was originally posted in July of 2009. I received an email this evening from Kay in Denver, asking me to post it again. To Kay, thank you for the lovely email. You are amazing. It is a blessing that you have your pictures. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am so sorry for your loss. xo
Smile For The Camera
I got divorced when my son was 6 months old. (It’s a long story for another time.) While it was a hard decision to end my marriage, it was ultimately the best thing for me, and my son. It was the best choice because in setting myself free, I was able to be a happy woman, which allowed me to be a happy mom.
Every situation is different of course, and what worked for me, might not worked for someone else. My son has grown up with two homes, and has no sense of change or loss, which sometimes happens when you get divorced with older children.
I sometimes look back, and wonder about how my life would have been different, if I had gotten remarried quickly. I was so focused on being a mom, that it never occurred to me that I should spend time dating, or finding a new relationship. If I had, maybe I would have had more children. It’s impossible to know how life might be altered, if choices had been different.
There are a lot of things that are hard about being a single parent. There are struggles with time, and money. Having to deal with the other parent, and new partners they may have. The separating of holidays, plus the stress of going to school and doing homework, all while shuffling back and forth between two locations.
It is very hard for both the children and the parents. There are so many things, that I can’t pinpoint just one, as the toughest aspect of divorce. For me, the saddest thing however, about being a single mother, is easy to single out. It is the pictures.
I have provided my son with a wonderful life. We have travelled, and seen things together that are special, and will be memories of a lifetime for my son. The thing is, there are very few pictures that document us doing them together. I have boxes full of pictures of my son, and all that he has been blessed to do. But I took the pictures, so I’m not in any of them.
I am a big picture taker, and when I go through them, I remember so vividly the adventures we have taken together. In the end though, they are pictures taken by me, of my son, with the occasional one of us together where I asked a stranger to take a shot, or the top of my head as I tried to get one of us together myself.
If I could go back, I would have been more conscious of the fact that I needed to have pictures of us together. Last night, I went to services at my temple where I was honored by my Sisterhood for the work we did this past year. I have such lovely pictures of my boy on this special night, but there is not one of us together. It’s such a shame.
I’m going to try to break the habit I have, of taking pictures of just him, and focus more on having people take them of us together. For those single parents who are reading today, do the same. Stop and ask strangers to capture the moments you have with your children. You will be so happy you did.
My son will look back on the photos, and remember the trips, laughter, and fun. I know that he remembers I was there. They are our memories, and for that I am grateful. In the end, it’s not necessarily the life I imagined for myself, but in more ways than not, it is the perfect life. Whether or not I am in the pictures, they are our memories together.
I love my son. I love every step we’ve taken together, and even though I’m not in the pictures, I was there. When I see his smiling face looking at me from the photo, both he and I know, the reason he smiles so brightly, is because I am the one holding the camera.
Take a picture of your kids, and when they look at the camera, know that you are there, in the moment, with them. Sharing, laughing, and keeping the faith.
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