So this morning, Ashley at Under The Sycamore, led me to a flickr group. I immediately joined. If you have children and a camera, you should join, too.
Here's the "mission statement"
"Many scrapbookers knew Aleida Franklin. She was a wonderful wife and mother and a brilliant artist. I didn't know Aleida personally, but she taught me something I will never forget.
She emailed me last year to tell me she loved my blog and to ask if I liked my short hair-cut. This lead to a series of emails which eventually led me to remark that I really loved how often she posted pictures of herself with her children on her blog. And she replied to me, "Have you ever seen a photograph of your own mother and thought to yourself how fat she looked? Or how she wasn't wearing make-up? Or wasn't dressed in a glamorous outfit?" Of course my answer was no.
She then responded with saying that she made it a goal to take a picture of herself with her children at least once every month. And that to use excuses about how we look, as women, is ridiculous, since our children will never care what we looked like, but only that we had physical evidence of the bond between mother and child.
Aleida tragically and unexpectedly passed away in an auto accident in September of 2008, leaving 2 small children and a grieving husband. After she passed I thought of how those children must feel to have those precious photographs. I have made it my personal goal to follow her wise suggestion and I try to take photos of myself with my children....double chins, make-up free, bed-head and all.
I invite Mothers everywhere to take Aleida's Challenge. To photograph yourself with your children each and every month. And to post them here so that we can see Aleida's legacy unfolding."
There's a little flashy in my sidebar right below the link to my flickr. If you click the flashie it will take you to Emilie, who created the group and the flashie. Get your own. Every time you see it blink, pull out your camera and get in the shot.
(4 Generations - my Grandmother, my sister, my mom, my great-grandmother, and me. circa 1982ish.)
A theme I run into over and over and over again: the idea of "fitting in" or "not fitting in." That of being "normal," "ordinary," "extraordinary," etc etc...all in quotes because: what the fuck does that even mean?
What is NORMAL?
I have found myself saying to Husband - on more than on occasion lately - that I still don't quite feel like I fit in here. For the record: I knew I didn't fit in in Dallas. We were living like "Europeans" in Dallas. (Yes, I heard that one more than once...what does that even mean?)
But I have a laundry list of ways I do/don't fit in...I can point to people in my life who share some, but not all of these items. I know people much more hardcore about living the "Green" life, and I know people much more apathetic about it. I see the cliques, and in some cases I belong to them but mostly each group of people has their own parameters they seem to meet.
I put a poll on one of the mommy boards I frequent and I find that most of the moms (59.8%) feel like they fit in with little or no effort. 37.6% don't feel like they fit in with an even split between caring greatly and not caring at all.
It took a long time for me to be comfortable not being part of the group. It took even longer for me to not care that other people had opinions of me.
I am who I am. All of those children's stories about embracing your specialness don't really slide home once you're in the pubescent throws of high school...and for some people it never passes. Awkward 'til the end, which is unfortunate.
I feel like this post is bumbling. That there should be some great moral at the end. Something to make you say "aha!" But really - it's just thoughts I'm having and barfing out onto the internet. Apparently, that's what it's here for.
I could leave you with advice, so here it is (based on another poll I posted on another board where I decidedly DID NOT fit in...to the point that the mean girls enjoyed taking shots at me (mean girls who want to FB friend me now...hahahaha. No.) )
You should live your life as though you were going to meet yourself at a party. If you would want to chat yourself up, get to know you better, hang out and trade secrets - then you're living a life as the best version of you. It takes bravery. Be brave.
We were all very sad to hear that Mothering folded, but luckily Rhythm of the Home has been slowly gaining momentum and - while it doesn't slide perfectly into the void left by Mothering - it certainly has the same heart-warming goodness.
So if you're already a fan, consider this a reminder to go check out their new offerings, and if you're not a fan, then you should definitely go check out new offerings and browse the old offerings while you're at it!
Additionally, they're having a giveaway. We all love giveaways.