Kids take pictures of themselves making funny faces at the camera. Teenagers take picture of themselves looking (they hope) cool and mature. Twenty-somethings take pictures of themselves also trying to be cool, but usually also with drinks. When I see pictures like this, it makes me smile, because I can imagine myself doing any one of those things when I was at that stage. But in general, “selfie” is a word and a behavior that, as a middle-aged lady, I find a little bit obnoxious.
Lately, I’m taking them anyway. Matt is good at many things, but is not at all good about taking pictures. If you look at the pictures we have of John as a baby and a toddler, you’ll find that he himself is very well-documented. He and his father are thoroughly accounted for. And his mother makes an occasional guest appearance. You’d think that I was just a sometimes-visitor to the household.
The pictures I do have with him are pictures I really cherish — they give me a view of myself with my son that I want to hold on to. I’m very well aware that it won’t be very long before he’s embarrassed by me or just busy with his own life. He won’t always think that a day out with Mom is the best way to spend the day. I guess I want proof.
So increasingly I’m taking matters into my own hands. I’m usually one to run from a camera, but now I turn it on myself. Awkwardly. I’ve got a lot of pictures of ears and chins or weird faces. Do I look silly with a camera at the end of my outstretched arm? No doubt. Does this give me an uncomfortably detailed view of my wrinkles and bumps? Oh god, yes. But occasionally I’ll get a picture to hang onto. I think I’ll be glad of it sooner or later.