The Photographer and Me: Why I Love Being a Mom

This morning I left the house at 6:30 AM to get Hadas to school on time for her 6th grade overnight camping trip. How wonderful it was to be enjoying the sherbet pink/orange clouds of sunrise at that hour when I am usually bracing myself for the approaching banshee call of my alarm clock.

And then, right before we entered the tunnel leading to Agrippas Street, we came across something very surprising. It was a bleary-eyed 20-something woman with jeans and a nose-ring peering through a camera on a tripod. I live in a neighborhood that is teeming with tourists, so seeing a person with a camera wasn’t what was surprising. Even the time was unusual, but within the realm of normalcy.

What was strange was WHAT she was photographing. Her camera wasn’t facing the sherbet clouds, nor one of the historic buildings or quirky, colorful gardens on my street. She was facing the awful tunnel that we were about to pass through- the one that indeterminable construction has transformed for the last few years from a somewhat pleasant, stone-paved pathway into a tuck your nose into your sleeve, scaffolding-eclipsed, I’d rather not know what sticky-substance I just stepped into kind of passageway.

Upon examination, the photographer explained to Hadas and me that this was her class assignment, to spend 24 hours photographing this tunnel every two minutes in order to track the subtle changes in light and shadow. She had been there since 3 o’clock that afternoon, and she would be there until 3 PM later that day.

I passed her several times after that. On my way back from taking Hadas, and later on my way to the gym and on my way back from the gym. And every time she was there, standing by her camera, or sitting and fiddling with her laptop waiting to take the next photo.

The last time I saw her, about 3 hours after my original sighting, I asked her something that I had been wanting to ask her since I had first witnessed her bleary-eyed at sunrise that morning.

“Tell me something, are you enjoying this? Is this interesting for you?”

“Yes, it’s fascinating! I’m enjoying it a great deal…” and she really meant.

The photographer’s answer surprised me. IMHO, It seemed like there could be few activities more boring, more thoroughly unsatisfying than spending 24 hours photographing this unsavory, midnight-at-noon tunnel…

But a few minutes later, when I walked into my own front door, I realized something. I realized that from the outside, my life as a mom must look just about as boring, as tedious, as this woman’s class project. Day after day of the same grilled cheese sandwiches, the same runny noses, the same floors to sweep and teeth to brush. And that only I, the person who stands here day after day, hour after hour, can catch the subtleties of growth, of change, of beauty in this chaotic, noisy, wonderful thing called the Weisberg family.

I am the only one in the world who can detect when the shadows lift and a child shifts and a moment of wonder takes place that only a mom can see and love.

And that, I realized, is why I love being a mom.

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Babies with Soul
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What I Do Every Night of Chanukah

3 comments

  1. debbie shapiro

    Poignant, and so true. thank you

  2. “And that, I realized, is why I love being a mom.”

    I love being a Mom because it gives me a sense of fulfillment to be doing what I know is the right.

    You are reminding me that I can also enjoy the process, that I can actually take pleasure in being the Mommy of my children by noticing things that outsiders don’t see.

    Thank You!

  3. wherelifebecomesart

    I found your blog through a random search. This post is truly beautiful!

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