Being Both Photographer and Mom

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Over the years, I have watched many moms cry at their son or daughter's senior portrait session,  I did not fully understood all that was happening on the inside until NOW. 

I photographed Meikayla, my own High School senior this week in a dual senior session with one of her closest friends, Lauren. I am pretty sure I embarrassed her as I occasionally bursted into tears throughout their session.  I tried not to cry, I really did, but every time I looked at her my mind was flooded with memories and milestones… times we laughed together, academic achievements she received, life lessons she learned the hard way, times when I cried wondering if I was parenting her the right way… and then there she was standing in front of my lens looking beautiful, confident, and ready to enter the real world. How is it possible for time to have passed by so quickly when so often throughout the last 17 years it has seemed to go by so slowly?

As the waterworks continued, it sunk it that my tears were in part due to the relief that I hadn’t been a complete failure as a mother! Seeing my daughter standing there smiling, laughing, and talking about her future reassured me that I had indeed done a good job! I think that is what every mom really wants to know.

I have decided that senior portraits, although they may appear outwardly to be a fun photoshoot for a high schoolers, are actually for the parents. The photographs become a symbol of achievement for the parents, each one proclaiming “Congratulations you have successfully raised a human being!” 

I can’t wait to display her portraits in my home. I am excited to show them off to friends and family, but secretly they will be my reminder to press on when I feel worn thin with my younger kids. I look forward to the day when I stand in my hallway, proudly looking at a row of senior pictures and knowing that my kids are all grown up. So, mom’s cry if you want to. I think you have earned that right!

 

-Heidi