Last month, my family gathered at my childhood home to spend one last day in the woods behind it. There's a long muddy trail, that leads back to a creek where a space was cleared years ago for just this type of gathering. Family, friends, a campfire and togetherness.
It was the one of the last times, I would walk (or four wheel) that trail. It was bittersweet. But wow, was it fulfilling to watch my son play in the place I grew up. We watched him swing on the rope swing, laughing his head off with every push he was given. He got muddy, he played by the water, and we cherished the day as a family.
Soon, a new family will grow up there. They'll swim in the creek, and they'll have their own campfires. I can only hope they enjoy it half as much as we did.
At the end of the day, I sat with my son by the edge of the water, to tell him why this place was special to me. That's when I was given my Mother's Day present.
My aunt, and then my husband picked up my camera and took our picture while we talked. Was I muddy? Yes. Was my hair a mess. You bet. Were either of them professionals? Nope. None of that mattered to me one bit. They saw a moment, and took my picture. I don't know if they realized in that moment what a gift that was to me.
As a photographer, and a mom, I'm rarely ever in the pictures. Moms everywhere - you get me right? You're the one typically setting up the photos, capturing the candidness, and then taking selfies to prove you were there. I know this, because I am too.
Don't get me wrong, I have beautiful photos of my family and I together. But they often have to be posed or selfies. It's very rare, that I'm in a candid photograph with them. (For the record, once I realized I was being photographed, I did ask for one of both of us looking at the camera. Because honestly, it was hard not to notice.)
But on this day, in the place where I grew up, I have a few images (that thankfully include me) to show that despite our hardships of the past year, love carried on in this place. And hopefully, it always will.
Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms of all kinds!
Photos below taken by: Donnalynn Sullivan and Matthew Perrotta