People come into and out of our lives on a daily basis. Some choose to make a lasting impact while others might just meet us in passing. I, for one, am thankful for the shared journeys I have witnessed – whether lingering moments or meaningful encounters. No matter the distance or the time in which we have met, those moments linger in my memories and also shape who I am as a person.
Aside from having a loving and supportive husband, who has been my strength all these years – the greatest relationship I have had, I must admit, is with my four children. They are precious to me beyond words and the quality of my life has grown greatly from the moment I first held them in my arms and continues to grow on a daily basis. I know it must sound strange to openly admit these things as I often see many parents who fear to look vulnerable in front of their children, however life has taught me to always be open with your feelings and to say what needs to be said before there is regret.
I know many also find it strange that I would choose to homeschool my children – as they find it all too confining to be surrounded by their children all day. You often hear, “I need adult conversation!” I don’t know – I never limited my children in that way – and for that reason I have and continue to have many adult conversations with them. I am amazed at how deeply they think – and how thoughtful and caring they are for others in the world. They are less judgemental and set in their ways; they are open to change. They not only love cooking, poetry, and photography as I do, but they also are fearless about speaking out when something needs to be said. They stand up for what is right.
A lot of times, people assume that we as parents have the main job of influencing our children. We are to show them how to see the world and how to live in it. Have you ever wondered, though – what would happen if you also were open to how they saw the world? What if we asked them, what do you suggest we do to make things better? In my opinion, I think theirs is a voice worth listening to. I do not know if you remember what it was like when you were younger – but I do remember that I thought so then as well. What I hope to give back to my children, is what was unfortunately not given to me and by giving them a voice, I have found a greater gift in their respect and in their friendship.
That being said – all of my children are different. They have their own personalities, their own quirks, their own strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly enough, they come together to make quite a team – adding their own perspective and viewpoint on everything. It not only affects them and each other, but it also affects me. Through their eyes, I can see what they see and it starts a great conversation.
TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS AS A FAMILY:
This is no less apparent than when we all go together to the gardens to take pictures. We starting going last year to improve their photography skills as well as my own. We all have a different view, and – interestingly enough, all of them are beautiful in their own way.
Now, our images are not only limited by our viewpoint, but also our equipment. We don’t allow that to stop us from sharing the beauty we see. We just know our limitations and we work within them and around them. In their own right, my children take some pretty amazing pictures and yes, some of them I am a quite a bit jealous of 🙂
For my images, I like to take both closeup photographs but also those where I focus on the object and blur the background for effect. I could easily just focus on an object and click. However, I truly love where a picture tells a story – more than what is just front and center, more than what is obvious. I want to see in the distance, but not make anything out either. It is almost as if I want to allow the image to tell me a story.
So yes, I purposefully don’t always tell the story of the lone flower in the field. I don’t just always focus my lens on what is visibly seen. Instead, I focus on the shadows, the way the flower reaches towards the light, the folds and ridges, the way the background flowers and other objects add further beauty to an already beautiful subject. For me – photography is poetry.
MY OLDEST DAUGHTER’S VIEW:
She has always loved photography and any chance she has gotten, she has picked up the camera. I’m not going to ask where she got that from 🙂 However, she was the first of several who would take pictures with my camera or phone and somehow assume I would not realize it. Here’s a little secret – if there is a picture on your phone and you didn’t take it – if everyone else is in the photograph except that ONE PERSON you can pretty much figure out who has been doing what. In the end – we rewarded her for this behavior by giving her a camera and my phone has been pretty much safe since then.
Her view is more up-close and personal. If you see her at the gardens, she is most likely chasing after a bee or ant, crawling on the ground and taking pictures. She likes to see newly growing plants or insects buzzing around. She will sit and focus on a single bee pollinating flowers until we threaten to leave her. She enjoys beauty in all its manifestations, but truly finds amazement in the smallest forms of life.
VIEW FROM THE SECOND IN COMMAND:
My next youngest daughter has loved poetry from the moment she was born, but she has also found her turn toward the camera more recently. Her favorite type is macro photography. She likes to zoom in to the tiniest of details – things most people would miss. She also takes amazing photographs of those around her and prefers to take pictures when you least expect it. Her camera is more limited in scope than her sisters, but she still manages to take beautiful photographs.
MY YOUNGEST TAKES ON PHOTOGRAPHY:
For anyone who has more than one child – you must know that they often try to follow in each other’s footsteps. They try out and pick up interests because they see their older siblings interested in them. She has carried around a camera since she was very little. She was always so interested in the camera. In the beginning, the camera was not that sophisticated, but she has graduated to a real camera now and uses it gladly. She may only be 9, but she actually takes some really amazing photographs.
For all the shared journeys, for all the people who have passed me by or continue to contribute to this narrative we call life – know that you are not forgotten. I truly cherish every moment I have been given and I can only hope that I pass on that feeling to my own children. May they cherish every passing moment and the people who have made those moments worth cherishing. May they always pick up the camera and share the beauty that they find around them – and may they seek it out in the unlikeliest of places and in the unlikeliest of ways.
(c) Sumyanna 2016