A little late in the day (at least for my fellow same-time-zone bloggers) to start my new regime but here I begin with this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme which is ‘Family’. This gives a very broad scope for interpretation as you who regularly read my blog know, I write about my family life, both past and present, more than anything else.
So how to go about meeting this challenge, which aspect of family life should I write about, what specific photos should I share?
Not ironically, I spent the best part of the day today with my mum and we had a moment or two or reminiscing, as we always do, about the this-and-that of our family. During the thirty or so minute drive back home, my thoughts drifted back to last year. To the two weeks I spent in California with my daughter having returned after an absence of ten years and then, to a boating holiday spent on the Norfolk Broads in the early summer for the fist time in over fifteen years.
The resulting association of specific memories with certain photos seemed bizarre at first, the more I drifted, lost in thought, but then it began to make perfect sense. Family is family, after all, even if it means a gaggle of geese.
So it seemed right to me that the first photo should be one I took on the Norfolk Broads last year of a family of Greylag Geese sunning themselves on the banks of Salhouse Broad on the first morning of our holiday. Mum emerged from her cabin and threw her arms around me with such excitement that I was afforded a delightful glimpse of her childlike wonderment, not jaded for an instant.
‘The sun is shining! Did you see those geese over there? Isn’t it wonderful to be back on the water after so many years!’
I will never forget the look on my mum’s face as she revelled in her moment of holiday-bliss.
What then of another, very different family? My childhood family and memories of holidays spent with my mum, dad, brother and grandparents on the Norfolk Broads.
Digging through a time-warp of endless black and whites flitting through my mind and ever thankful that my grandfather was a prolific photographer and cine-film maker, there is one photo that, for me, truly defines the unbridled joy of our care-free smiles preserved for ever in a flash of history, as taken by my mum who inherited her father’s skill and enjoyment of photography.
So then I ask again; family, which family? The family life I once had as a girl? Or the one shared by three people later on, just Mum, my brother and I? What about the family life that went on to define me, when it was my turn to be Mom, loving, living, raising, nurturing my three beautiful children for almost twenty years in California?
What then of the warm and loving family life I have now, with my husband and Aspie daughter and visiting sons, returned to and embraced by my extended family, all of whom I missed so terribly when I lived so far away across the sea yet not without having left a part of me behind with my other, never-forgotten family who live there still, some six-thousand miles away?
Yet, as the association continues, it is not surprising to me that in the end the photo that wouldn’t go away is this one. Think the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz beach. A day out with my family, a young mom, pushing my baby daughter in her stroller, holding my three-year old younger son’s hand and my eldest son walking beside his father.
Think a family on a day out, like any other family, heading back to the car as the day comes to an end for the two-hour drive back home for pizza for dinner and then to watch a movie together on the VCR. Normal, family life.
Think then of my mother, hanging back, taking photos of the Boardwalk and then, on looking ahead at her daughter and her family walking just ahead of her decides, at that precise moment, to take the shot. Think the click of her camera, the single press of the button, as she captures for all to see the epitome of family life.
The Giant Dipper would have its day.