What do you call your mom? Growing up, it was always 'mama' for me. Then somewhere it became Mom. I could always tell when my sister was displeased with mama when she would refer to her as .... mother. I lost my mama/mom on New Year's Day 2005 when she was 92 and my mother-in-law died NY Day 1991. My mother-in-law died from cancer at age 61.
But, I'm sitting here thinking about something my mom said. It was along the lines of always make everything you do count for something. Have something to show for. Whether it was volunteer work, crocheting afghans for nursing home residents or making quilts for expectant moms who didn't have much or teaching music, I can honestly say, my mom was one of those generous souls who gave more than she ever got.
She was extremely smart and talented, yet I don't think many people knew exactly how smart she was and very few in her later years had any idea of her musical talents.
My mom's death was not easy. She had broke her hip right before Christmas the night we had made the decision to bring her to Oklahoma to live with us. She spent her last three weeks in a hospital with less than friendly people. I hate to say this, but the nurses were some of the rudest I've ever encountered. A total waste, considering my mom had been a nurse for several years in her younger days, when she was a single mom trying to raise myself and three triplet boys she adopted. And sometimes my sister and her son were included in those efforts. I still have a difficult time accepting that my mom wasn't able to go home as a final request.
But, she wouldn't want me to linger on that. When I'm having one of those days where I always wonder if I'm on the right path in my life, I think about her words to me. While photography is my passion, like music was hers, it was my writing that my mom really loved. I am lucky I suppose that I can make a living at it. I get many compliments from co-workers, friends and acquaintances who read my news efforts and feature stories and I probably come off as disinterested or, oh I don't know what, but it's more because sometimes I think, "I don't deserve such kudos." Sometimes I take it for granted and I have to ego-check myself even.
Today was one of those days that make me realize that whether it's photography or writing that I am doing, I'm on the right path. And I am extremely fortunate to have the two paths intertwine. Today was one of those times.
There's a wonderful establishment in town that I've been lucky enough to photograph at free will. I'll share that story later, but today, I had to go out there for the sole purpose of shooting photos for the owners for their Web site. Today was also the day the local art guild was having a workshop there. I wished I could have gotten out there sooner for they were finishing up and I only managed to get a few photos which I'll post in the next entry. There were many artists there from throughout the state and a few familiar faces. One of those faces was Janet Loveless of Marlow, Oklahoma. She is so talented and I've long admired her work. While I was there, she came up and gave me a pat on the arm and told me thank you. I stopped for half a second, then she went on. Years ago, I wrote an article on her about her, as an artist and a survivor. Not only is she an artist, she's a cancer survivor. But, today was one of those moments that made me feel very humble. I mean really, to be able to write about someone and have that person tell you years later that they still are touched by it, well, that's why I do what I do. I guess that's my ego-check.
It's hard for me to describe it. I can sit and listen and write about others all day long, but to try and convey my own personal thoughts, not always so easy. In fact, I just stopped to share with my husband what I am writing about and I get all choked up trying to share the quick version about Janet's gesture today. And while I may be a reporter, my mom, I'm sure, hoped I would pursue my writing in a different fashion. I know she always wanted me to write a book or for magazines, and who knows, one day I may. I can say this, I do have the magazine part accomplished! That was before she died and she loved the piece.
Funny how things all fall into place. Mother's Day is this weekend. And in my small way, I want to give back. So, here's a little contest. If you live in Stephens County and it's been a long time since you had photos of you and your mom done and you are reading this, I want you to post a comment here why you should get a free mom and me photo session. Leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you or visit my web site and use the Contact page to send an email with your personal information and a paragraph or two if you aren't comfortable posting here.
I don't need anything lengthy, just something from the heart telling me why I should photograph you and your mom. I'll read them and will make the announcement on Sunday. I'll also post photos from the session on my blog. The session will be scheduled for sometime later in the month or early June.