Photos Are For Looking At

Photo Sharing

Years ago the saying was “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Today, with the ease of sharing photos I’m not sure that saying holds true. Tech is making it so easy to take photos and share them. Almost every social network has some interface that will take you from click to share in just a few steps. The time from taking a photo to handing it off to grandma has gone from weeks (or months) to something more like 2 minutes.

I look back at photos from just 10 years ago and while I do have a few I took and had developed from my “real camera”, it was so much easier to use the digital photos. Only problem is that compared to today their resolution is so low. We’ve been conditioned to need a 14 megapixel photos, despite doing nothing more than sharing it on social network.

For the first years of BabyGirl’s life I made photobooks. One of my favorite ways to remember our experiences is to create a photobook. I spent hours saving, uploading, arranging, and adding text to these little books. I was already uploading the photos to print them out, may as well make a book. But those days seem long past.

In their place are hard drives filled with tens of thousands of photos. I have multiple photo libraries because I try to limit them to 25,000 items. You know, “just incase”. Many of which are random food shots, the sky, feet, and who knows what all else. Gone are the days of thinking twice about taking a photo and in its place we have twice as many photos. Heck, who am I kidding, for every one photo we used to snap on our film camera we have 50 we take on our phone or digital camera. And instead of being excited to develop the film when we heard it rewind, we … Well, I can’t speak for everyone but I know I don’t order prints any more as a routine.

Every once in awhile I upload a few photos and order prints. A few photos of my grandma and her brother and sister-in-law. A photo I just happened to snap of the orchestra conductor. But even those, while I want the prints, often seem like such a hassle.

Now, with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (which I received as part of the Verizon Insider program), I easily shoot videos that look better than my traditional video camera. Again, recording life but doing nothing with it. So what’s the point?

I don’t have many photos from my childhood. But those I have are so precious and important. BabyGirl will end up with few tangible photos, but have terabytes or maybe even petabytes or exabytes. Sounds great to have hundreds of thousands of photos, but we’re not archiving them. Even though many of the photo software programs we have add tags based on GPS data or facial recognition, we don’t do anything with the photos. We take them, share some, save all. It’s like we’re photo hoarders.

What should we really be doing with these photos?

  1. Share – sharing them with our social networks is great. But what about with people who aren’t on line?
  2. Delete – at the end of any given day we may have taken 20 or 30 photos. Most of which are not worth keeping for our lifetime. We really need to just delete the ones we know we won’t ever use or share and maybe come back to them periodically to cull them again.
  3. Organize – Saving digital photos in files by date is great. But the days and weeks run together. Even months and years tend to become a blur. If we only have a manageable collection to organize, it’s easy to change the default file name to something we’d actually search for if we went looking.
  4. Print – whether it’s taking an SD card (or Memory Stick) to the local store to print off a few photos, uploading them to a site that will print them for pick up at a store you’re going to, or creating something more elaborate like a photo book we really need to consider having a tangible way to enjoy the photos and share them with new friends.

I remember being a teen and sitting on the couch with my grandpa going through photo albums and listening to the stories behind the photos or learning about the people in them. As I’ve moved my grandmother from her home, I’ve had to consider what to do with her multitude of photo albums. As my grandmother ages, I miss out on the stories and history the photos hold. And while there are a number of photo albums, there really aren’t many photos that cover her 93 years. I have 2 photo albums that belonged to my mother. Together they may have 50 photos. It’s my only visual connection to her. And there is no one to tell me the stories. Still, I cherish them.

But I wonder how much my daughter is missing out on because looking at photos isn’t as easy as pulling out a photo album, snuggling together on the couch, and reliving this wonderful experience. Instead, there is no looking at old photos because it means booting up the external hard drive, finding the photos, waiting for them to load, and balancing a laptop.  And even if I can pull them up on the home network, it’s not the same looking at them on the TV.

“A picture’s worth likes and shares” just doesn’t have that same feel. We really need the thousand words.

Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with a Samsung Galaxy S4. This is not a sponsored post and no compensation was provided for this post. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third-party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

The Bittersweet Feelings Of Mother’s Day

Mothers Day Photo

This is my mom, Eileen. She was probably 5 or 6, placing this photo right about 1950. It is undated but the back has details about the colorization. I “appropriated” this photo when I was packing up my grandmother’s house. For as long as I can remember it sat in a corner cabinet at the end of the hallway. You could easily walk past it and not even notice it among the tchotchkes and beads that my grandmother hung on a specially made holder my grandpa made.

I always noticed this photo when I’d visit my grandparent’s home. There were many photos of my mom around, but this one has always captivated me. Originally shot in black and white, the fact that my grandparents had it colorized always intrigued me. I’ve asked my grandma what made her decide to colorize it but she doesn’t remember. That was over 60 years ago.

I don’t have a lot of photos of my mom. She didn’t like her photo taken. She didn’t feel beautiful. She was. My mom had a great smile, which she shared a lot despite the challenges she dealt with daily. Her eyes sparkled when you looked at her. The last time I saw my mom, she was in a coma. Her eyes would open periodically and that sparkle was still there.

She wasn’t here when I became a mom, which is why my daughter shares her middle name.

Mother’s Day is a day we celebrate the women who gave us life, the women we are because of our children, and the other phenomenal women who mother, teach, and love us unconditionally.

While I miss my mom terribly, I am fortunate to have a heart filled with the love of so many other women who also taught me about the love of motherhood.

If, like me, you find Mother’s Day a challenge, I hope you know that you are loved and with time the heart will heal and seal in all the wonderful memories.

Sara

And Mother Of The Year Goes To …

Yes, YOU! And me too! All of us.

Mother of the Year goes to every mother who:

  • has loved their child(ren) so much but has never questioned if the well of love would ever run out
  • has given every ounce of her energy, but still finds more to bake 25 dozen cupcakes at 11pm because no one else volunteered
  • drives to the same place multiple times a day and never complains to her children
  • wipes noses with her shirt and doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it
  • waits until her child is inside before she starts crying that first time she drops off for school/sleepover/camp
  • says “NO“, because she loves her child
  • has full conversations through bathroom doors and doesn’t find it abnormal
  • watches her sleeping child, just because she can
  • wakes up her sleeping child so she won’t be up at 2am when that child is wide awake
  • texts her teenager “I Love You” instead of saying it in front of their child’s friends
  • says “I Love You” to their child in front of their child’s friends
  • wonder if there is something wrong with her because she loves her child so much
  • sobs uncontrollably because she doesn’t know if there’s something wrong with her because she doesn’t want to hold her baby
  • nursed for days, weeks, months, years
  • used formula by choice or begrudgingly
  • went to bed early because you knew your child was in capable hands and you were exhausted
  • danced around in excitement, much to the dismay of your children, when they made it onto the team/play/group
  • sang silly songs with your child (and when you were alone in the car)
  • watched the same Disney movie 8,432,912 times and explained it every single time
  • spent your last dollar on a treat for the kids
  • dug around in your purse for change so the kids can buy something from the machine/street vendor
  • cried when you had to go back to work
  • danced excitedly when you went back to work
  • admitted to your child you have no idea how to help them do their homework
  • learned math/science/grammar/music/etc. just so you can help your child do their homework
  • wished they could take away the pain or sadness
  • told their child to brush their teeth …. again
  • has sent their child to their room
  • ate ice cream for dinner
  • insisted on “one more bite”
  • told their child “I believe in you
  • begrudgingly shared the last bite of cookie with their child
  • told their child “just a minute” … even though that minute turned into an hour
  • stopped everything because their child needed them
  • kissed their child a million times a day
  • cried because their child had to be with their dad and you couldn’t kiss them
  • and all the million other things that makes us our child’s Best. Mom. Ever!

Mother’s Day is just one day each year. But every day we are moms despite all the other demands on our time and emotions. And every day there is a child that looks up at us and ultimately thinks we are the most amazing person in the world.

Happy Mother’s Day! Not just today, but every day.

Sara

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For The Modern Mom

Sara and BabyGirl

Mother’s Day is right around the corner so rather than dealing with things we don’t really want, I’ve come up with some ideas for the modern mom.  Today I’m the featured writer at Enough Time Moms and I’d love for you to check out what real moms want for Mother’s Day. Please join me and share your favorite gifts of years past as well as what you really want this year.

Disclosure: I am a compensated blogger for Enough Time Moms. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Image credit: Disney Photopass

Sara

Celebrating Mother’s Day As A Motherless-Daughter

As Mother’s Day approaches I’m feeling melancholy. It’s a time when I really miss my mom. This year is the 20th anniversary of her death. Nearly half my life has gone by without her in it and this year is especially hard for some reason. Maybe it’s because my birthday and Mother’s Day are so close this year? Or maybe I’m just being emo and need to snap out of it. Whatever it is, the bombardment of ‘all things mom’ for the past month has been a challenge.

Photo of My Mother circa 1962 - (c)

 

Last year I shared this picture of my Mommy with you and told you a little about her. What I didn’t mention was how it felt to be a Motherless daughter during a time where “all things mom” bombard your senses. Her name was Eileen and she was a gap child who didn’t fit in with her depression-era parents or the baby boomers born just a few years after. Truly, she was cut from different fabric and lived life her way.

I was 21 when my mom died in November 1991. She had a stroke and never recovered. It was a grueling and very emotional few weeks as we dealt with what my grandparents thought should be done versus what my brother and I felt our mom would want.

She didn’t have an advanced directive. Even though Nancy Cruzan’s struggle was a public topic, it wasn’t as routine as it is now to have some type of advanced directive or living will. I remember, though, even all these years later talking to my mom about this one night. I was probably 16 years old and she told me that if she ever ended up on a coma that she wanted to be allowed to die.

It was a very hard conversations, but I knew why she was telling me. As a diabetic, she knew there was a very real possibility that something could go wrong and she’d end up in some type of irreversible state. In addition, she was seeing an oncologist. It wasn’t until after her death that I knew she was seeing an oncologist. I knew she saw a few doctors but back then it wasn’t as common to share your health care situation with your kids. Why would she be seeing an oncologist? Unless she had cancer and never mentioned it. No one knew. Possibly the only people who knew were my grandfather and uncle (my mom’s brother), neither of whom ever said a word.

At 21 I became a motherless-daughter and joined a secret sisterhood of women. I knew there would be situations where not having a mom would be emotionally challenging. While friends would share the fun and exciting things they were doing with their mom, I’d put on a smile and try to share in the joy. All the while stifling the growing sadness within. There would be lifecycle events where I’d much rather just hide in bed under the covers instead of pulling myself together and joining in on life.

Over the past nearly 20-years I’ve come to know other motherless-daughters who, like me, often had difficulty when Mother’s Day rolled around. Still there were family gatherings for the grandmothers and aunts, cousins and nieces who were moms. Celebrations that were full of laughter, only I was hiding behind a smile. Fortunately, when I moved away I could come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid Mother’s Day. Even when my mother-in-law moved nearby, she was understanding enough to know that if I didn’t go out to brunch on Mother’s day that it wasn’t a personal affront to her.

When I became a mom and Mother’s Day became part of my life, it was quite a challenge. Of course I was happy to be a mom, but it made me miss my Mommy even more. It’s a delicate balance emotionally. And one I know many of my friends deal with too. I’ve taken Mother’s Day as a time to share with BabyGirl who her grandmother was so she can understand the legacy of women she comes from.

If you’re a motherless-daughter, I get it. If your mom is still living, I get that too. What this celebration comes down to is honoring the women in our lives – whether they be our own mom, our aunties, our BFF’s mom, family friend, or other significant woman who has loved and mothered us in some way.

This year I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day in true fashion – I’ll be taking BabyGirl to violin rehearsal. Because, really, isn’t being a mom all about being a chauffeur? How will you spend your day?

Sara

Free Mother’s Day Card – 4/30 ONLY

 

Get a FREE Mother’s Day card from Tiny Prints – 4/30 ONLY!

I’ve been using Tiny Prints for my cards for the last few years. Not only do they have great quality products, but they’ll even mail them for you! You put in your own personal message and with just a few click they’re on the way.

Tiny Prints has also done my business cards the past two times I’ve needed them and they print on both sides! Love that I can customize them how I want them to look. And when I submitted it and it just looked wrong I got an email and a phone call from Customer Service to help me fix them so there would be no delay.

To get your FREE Mother’s Day card:

1. Browse Tiny Print’s Mother’s Day Card collection
2. Select your card and personalize it as you desire
3. Check out (you will need to put in your credit card info but you won’t be charged)
4. Enter code MDLOVE to get your card free!

Sara

Mother’s Day: Past, Present and Future

PAST

Isn’t she beautiful?  This is my Mommy, in 1962.  (Yes, I called her Mommy!) This is her graduation portrait, she was 17.  Wow, how times have changed since the black and white, saddle shoe days of the early 1960s.  My Mommy never knew computers or the internet.  But she knew how to love life.

A single mom with two kids, Mommy never complained about what she didn’t have.  Health problems were a common part of her adult life, yet she never sought pity.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until after Mommy died that I realized one of her doctors was an oncologist.  People who don’t have cancer don’t see oncologists, do they?  I never knew whether she did or did not have cancer. I think that was what she wanted. For me not to know.

As I’ve mentioned before, Mommy died in 1991, when I was 21.  She had a stroke and was hospitalized for her last weeks.  It’s been 19 years and I’m still brought to tears writing this.  I miss her dearly, especially on Mother’s Day.

For all Mommy has missed, for her, her life was full.  She lived in Munich, Germany and traveled around Europe as a young woman.  She lived to see the Berlin Wall come down.  The same wall she stood at 25 years before it came down, and wondered if Germany would ever see how wrong it was to divide people.  Mommy went to concerts, Tom Jones was her favorite.  She also met movie stars (we lived in the LA-area for awhile) and ate at The Brown Derby, yet she was never starstruck. The stars in her life were me and my brother. And the best dinners were eaten around the kitchen table.

Mommy laughed a lot and loved everything about life – family, friends, movies, singing.  You name it, she’d find a way to have fun. She was involved in everything both my brother and I did whether it be scouts, religious groups, school activities.  I get my kindness and volunteerism from her.  And I especially miss her not being here to join me in living life.

PRESENT

I became a mom in December 2002.  This is me with my sweet precious 3-month-old BabyGirl.  My friend KathiJo hosted a Baby Shower Tea for me after BabyGirl was born, because of the Jewish tradition regarding celebration of baby before birth.  Becoming a mom was one of the most amazing days of my life.  On that day I fully understood the love my Mommy felt for me, regardless of what else was going on in the world.

This is my 8th Mother’s Day.  Eight!  Wow! Before I became a mom I was told to cherish the early years because they truly do go by fast.  “Time Flies” is not just a cliché when it comes to motherhood.  Each day I snuggle BabyGirl before putting her to bed and I’m taken back to those early days when she was so tiny I thought I’d break her.  Except now, she’s draped all over me as she wants to cuddle up just like she was a tiny baby.  And it melts my heart every time.

And just as my mommy corrupted my musical sense with her songs of the 40s and 50s, I’m doing my best to introduce BabyGirl to the awesome classics of the 1980s! My mommy admitted to her lack of music understanding.  Growing up recorded music wasn’t a big part of her life. She didn’t get a phonograph in her house until she was well in to her teens, and even then she and her friends much preferred live music.  And, because of my Mommy’s weird and eclectic sense of music my sense and perspective on music is just like hers – weird and eclectic.

Trying to put fun in to every day is a priority. It’s something I learned from my Mommy. I work at it.  It doesn’t come easy to me, but I’m working on it. There are breakfast for dinner nights and crazy dance parties in the middle of the day. I act silly or may odd voices, even reading to her in various (very bad) accents.  And her laugh wraps around my heart like a big hug.

FUTURE

Some days I don’t want to think about BabyGirl growing up.  But, it’s happening right before my eyes. No matter how hard I try to keep her little, I see her growing into a beautiful young lady.  As a mom, our children are our legacy.  As a mom of one, I’m tasked with showing her the world not only through my eyes but also her own.  I’m a mom because of her. I am her cheerleader, her confidant, her cooking instructor, laundress, and housekeeper. I’m a teacher and a coach.  My duties as mom include being a nutritionist and secretary, chauffeur and motivational speaker.  I am a life coach and a nurse.

One day, I hope to be her best friend.

I wish each and every mom a very Happy Mother’s Day.  What are you doing to celebrate or remember Mom?  I’m sure there is a beautiful home made card waiting for me — probably before my duties as chauffeur begin for the day.

Sara

Random Act of Kindness Challenge: Day 26 Other-Mother’s Day

Welcome to Day 26 of the Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. I’m thrilled at the number of people who have decided to join me and Valerie in our goal to find small but meaningful ways to spread kindness. If you haven’t already grabbed our button, there are still a few days left in the month so please let everyone know you’re doing your part to make each day as nice as can be not just for you but for others as well.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, May 9th to be exact. Just about two week from now. Most everyone will call or send flowers or a card to mom. It’s one of the biggest eating-out days of the year. Who can blame you for taking mom out to dinner. No one wants mom to slave over a hot stove all day on HER day.

For some of us, though, we don’t have a mom to celebrate. My mom passed away nearly 19 years ago.  Wow, just typing seems impossible.  19-years.  I miss her dearly each and every day. And Mother’s Day is no exception. Actually, I miss her more because now that I am a mom I’d love to have her and my grandma with me on Mother’s Day so we could do one of those generational photos. Well, for more than just that reason, but that would be cool.  Instead, I have my memories.

But even though my biological mom is deceased, I so still have my Other-Mother. An Other-Mother is a woman who has been like a mom but isn’t your mom. Other-Mothers have a special place, never to take the place of a mom, in our hearts. My Other-Mother’s name is JoAnn. I love her like a mom. I don’t get to see her all the time, but I talk to her periodically and share my life with her. Just seeing her name on my caller-id, I get all smiley.

JoAnn never had children of her own. Every mother’s day for the last 15 or so years I have sent her a special card letting her know how much she means to me and how much I love her. And this year will be no different.  As a matter of fact, I think I’ll get her card ready today.

Do you have a special woman in your life that is an Other-Mother? If so, write her out a special card and let her know how you feel. Mother’s Day is a celebration of all the motherly women in our lives.  Mothers and Other-Mothers alike.

Sara