Some memories are kept with us through the stories we tell and the images we make, others just can't be removed. Like sneaking into the kitchen, me and a small helper to put plates on a tray. Add some juice, toast (probably badly buttered), and a bent pre-loved piece of paper with a drawing lovingly scrawled across it and off to "surprise" mum. Though I'm sure the noise made by a 2 year old being quiet woke her long ago...
Helping a 2 year old with breakfast and a Mothers Day gift (oh so many years ago!) is not a memory you can (or want) to undo. I'm sure there was more to it but these are the memories that stay with you and make you smile. And when you're a parent it's a weird kind of dejavu - helping my daughter doing something from an even older memory, of bringing a tray in to my own parents (with even worse toast I'm sure, and a little older than 2!), delivered with big smiles all round!
Blink and it's suddenly school, then sports or activities to schedule, they shoot up, change, amaze you with challenges conquered, change again, invent new fashion trends (that were a good idea at the time...), explore possibilities and morph into their own unique person to add their own stamp on the world.
I'll admit to being a proud Dad of a now young adult with so much talent of her own making I'm certain the world is a better place for her part in it. It's all the little milestones along the way of course that become more precious over time, as each only happens once - the first step on their own (we credit a toy Teletubby named Poh - perhaps another story), that time helping your youngster make breakfast for Mothers Day (OK, and a few other days too!), a nervous broken smile behind a small hand holding a tooth, chats in the car driving to/from school, then the last day of school when you realise that went fast, and those moments that catch them at "their age".
As a photographer of families I have the pleasure of seeing many grow up, as we catch up along the way at different ages and special events, creating print collections and making sure of a legacy even the kids can enjoy when they're older.
I was looking through some archive work and brought up this little video I made for Mothers Day 5 years ago... and couldn't help think how many amazing new things these children have already done. The toddlers are now at school, young primary age stars have entered high school, teenagers now have lives of their own and are out there making their own mark, some even leaving home. And these photos are there, sitting on desks, hanging on walls, a little more precious every year. With thanks to all the families that invite me to be a small part in your lives, I hope you enjoy this look back.
Just imagine what they could be up to in another 5 years!
Happy Mothers Day :)