These blurry, slightly out of focus photos are of my crew. My unit. My team. My tribe. Every single day we wake up, we exist together, intertwined as much as can be, living in our little bubble of predictability and routine. We know almost everything there is to know about each other, yet we learn more intricate little details every single day. We know what makes each other tick, we know how to push each others buttons, we know how to make each other laugh.
We have inside jokes, jokes that only we understand, that to an outsider wouldn’t be funny, we know how to hurt each other if we are angry or cross, we sometimes make each other cry out of sheer frustration. Yet at the same time if I am upset or anxious, I want to batten down the hatches and feel safe. They make me feel safe. Content. Loved.
We are learning and growing together. First there were just two of us, two good friends who fell in love. Everyone who knew us at the time said we would get together one day but we always laughed it off. Yet we did and almost eleven years later, here we are. First one baby. Then two. Then three. I never was one of those people who imagined what my family would be like, although if I did I certainly wouldn’t have pictured it like this. Now I couldn’t possibly imagine my life any other way.
It’s amazing really when you think about it. I know how babies are made, don’t get me wrong. But to have created our own little unit, our own little team, out of the love and friendship we have. How fate intervenes. If I hadn’t gone into that bar that day and asked for a job, I would have never met Jon. And all these years that have passed would have been so different. Yes I am sure that I would have met someone else, maybe even had children. But they wouldn’t be my three greatest loves. My Mads who is loud and crazy, but whose eyes twinkle with love when they look at you. My LL who is quiet but whose favourite thing at the moment is to sing me the ‘bung-a-low’ song and make me dance along. Or my LB, who wasn’t ever part of the ‘original’ plan, but who was the best decision we ever made.
We took these photos late last night. The end of the month sort of just creeped towards us and while I didn’t forget, we just didn’t get round to it. Yesterday the weather was horrible, wet and windy, and by the time Mads was home from school we just didn’t feel like going out to take photos. Then at the same time we couldn’t be bothered to take any photos with my big camera either. Our weeks are so hectic- made up of school, nursery and just general life, and none of us were feeling it. So we decided to take ‘selfies’ instead.
I actually love these photos. With their scruffy straight from school and nursery hair, with me with no make up and glasses on. Black and white photos somehow make me look even older, it seems to accentuate my eye bags and my wrinkles. But I have wrinkles because they are laughter lines (and I also like the sun a little too much but the laughter lines seem more poetic somehow). And I laugh a lot. I smile a lot. Parenting isn’t easy, it’s as stressful as hell at times. Life isn’t easy and I would hate to portray a picture that it’s perfect, because nothing is perfect. These children drive me mad at times, sometimes I sit down at the end of the day and I actually cry cause I have felt like a rubbish parent that day. Sometimes my husband will frustrate me more than I ever thought possible. We will argue and bicker and I will be so annoyed I want to scream/throw things/cry/all of the above. We all have our own struggles going on behind closed doors, even if they aren’t as serious as someone else’s.
But we are a family. And somehow life has a way of balancing itself out again. There are far more happy moments than stressful ones. I look at these photos and my heart feels so full at the slightly funny little people I have created. These simple, ordinary photos that we took in two minutes. Taken on a regular Thursday afternoon, after a busy day. Afternoons are always a little crazy, with reading to do, homework to do, dinner to eat, baths to have. Then we collapse on the sofa tired and a little drained. It’s just ordinary, but hectic.
And strangely I love these photos more than some of the more posed family photos we have done previously. Or the ones in exotic locations. Or the ones that tell more of a story.
Because actually simple, ordinary life is the very best story of all.