Tonight I was lying with my daughter while she went off to sleep in our bed. She has taken to me wanting to sing her off to sleep. She says I have the best voice in the whole world. I don't. You have to love her for that little white lie.
It's nights like tonight that make me joyous to be a parent. These children I have grown inside me, nurtured, loved with everything I have inside me from the moment I knew of them. I birthed them, fed them and held them. They really are my everything. It makes me sad though that I don't always remember this. I get cross with them, tell them they need to be quiet because I am working or on the phone. I long sometimes for that quiet I used to have. It makes me feel sad and ashamed of myself for not always remembering what I have.
I have friends who are unable to get pregnant. I have friends who have lost their unborn babies at different stages on that nine month journey. I know people who have faced the possibility of losing their child and I know some who have. It makes my heart ache, and tears fall. I can not imagine the pain, the 'knock you to the ground' impact that such an event must have on you. Words couldn't begin to describe it. It sounds almost dismissive to say that I 'feel' for these people, but I dont know quite how else to put it. I feel for them every time I hear a story of someone who has lost a child. I feel sick and I feel like I should be a better parent. Better at listening, better at being patient, better at letting them just be silly and be kids. I 'feel' like my heart would just stop if that happened to me. I respect all these people immensely to put one foot in front of the other every day. To keep going.
I have recently heard of the organisation called Heartfelt ( http://www.heartfelt.org.au/). I just have one small stop to an insurance broker to make before I can officially call myself a Heartfelt photographer. I joined because I am so very, very lucky. I want to give something if I can. I want to do it because I would hope that someone would do it for me. Because I am not always free in showing my emotions, this is the best way I know to do something that might help a little. I am an ICU nurse and before I had children I thought I would have liked to work in the neonatal ICU. After my children were born, I didn't think I would be strong enough to do it. I hope that doing this might selfishly fulfill something in me that wants to help those little babies, but that knows it is a job I may not be strong enough to do everyday. Maybe it will teach me that I can be strong for other parents and take that leap to one day look after neonates. Perhaps.
I know for now that I need to not forget. To remember everyday that I am the luckiest woman in the world to have these beautiful children. That is what this 'Happiness is..' project has been for me. It has been a reminder. I flick through the camera at the end of the day and see the silly things they did, or the stillness they possessed or the new things they have learned. I am proud of them, I am excited for the journey to come and thankful for the journey we have been on together.
I will leave you will some pics of Amelia. These were taken before bed as we sang together and said silly things to make each other laugh. It was a gorgeous time. I am glad to have pictures to remember such moments. It reminds me of a quote of Aaron Siskind that I love 'Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever.... it remembers the little things, long after you have forgotten everything."