Every year that mother's day rolls around and I'm still living so far away from you, it breaks my heart a little bit. I find myself thinking about how wonderful it would be to see you and celebrate with you, share with you just how happy I am to call you my mother. We've always had a great relationship and I've been so thankful for that. This year, I was thinking about what I could do to show you just how much you've been on my mind, and I decided on a little trip down memory lane. So without further ado, here are a few photos and memories of us through the ages that bring a smile to my face, starting with the oldest.
This picture cracks me up. We've both changed in appearance so much (I believe both for the better) that we're almost a different set of mother and daughter. This was my very first trip to Europe, the summer before I started high school. This was the summer we painted my room red to mark the fact that I was becoming older and more mature and decided I had outgrown the girly light lavender walls. We took this photo shortly before or after going up in the London Eye, and the pillar next to you mom had that graffiti stencil that said "This is not a photo opportunity." Remember that? Remember how I took a picture of it anyway, thinking I was being edgy? This was a really fun trip and I think my favorite memory of the two of us from this trip was when we went to a big outdoor flea market and I found those old antique keys that we planned to turn into jewelry.
This was my very first time at Hampshire, the trip where I fell in love and made my decision that this was where I would eventually go to school, changing my life forever in so many different ways. It's pretty wild to consider it's been almost 10 years since this trip. I either had just gotten or was about to get my wisdom teeth taken out around this time, I remember. I strongly remember going with you to see dad give a talk in one of the Franklin Patterson Hall lecture rooms, the breathtaking look of those trees, and what it felt like to be considering the fact that I was two short years away from moving away from home, away from you and dad.
This photo was taken during the January term where I chose to stay home instead of going back to school. I was really missing school and James and all of my new friends and so I definitely wasn't appreciating my time home as much as I wish I had taken the time to do in retrospect, but it was still a really lovely visit. I love this photo because while it was taken during my college years, it also reminds me of all of those countless farmer's markets we attended together over the years. It really is one of my favorite family traditions and I enjoyed using it as one of the ways to ground myself on those trips back home from college and from Vancouver once I moved away.
I hope you're not mad I used this photo again, but I love it so, so much! I still remember when I posted this side by side to celebrate mother's day back in 2011 and you didn't like that I'd used such an unflattering photo of us. These photos were taken in that little random grocery store we found by the side of the road. They had all kinds of coffee and snacks and produce, including a few that had little sample containers next to them. I still regret not taking a photo to remind myself what exactly it was that we ate, but I remember it looking like a grape and tasting more like a lemon, hence the faces. I love these photos because they really capture one of my favorite dynamics within our family, of which you are the real leader: the silly, wacky, larger than life goofy moments.
It may seem a bit odd to include a photo in this roundup that doesn't feature us together, but this is still my favorite photo from that trip and my favorite photo ever of dad and me together and you are the reason. This was back when we were still using digital cameras to take our photos and I had tried to teach you how to turn the camera around and blindly take a photograph at arm's length that would fit all three of us in the photo. I'd successfully taught dad how to do this a few years ago so I thought it would be a lot easier than it was. You were having such a difficult time getting all of us in frame and kept snapping pictures of dad and me that didn't focus you but instead of you getting frustrated and giving up we were all laughing uproariously about it, leading to this snap which--while clearly a planned tourist photo in front of the Eiffel tower--so beautifully captures truly candid happiness at being together as a family on a little adventure.
After many family trips to Hawaii focused mostly on staying in Kona, we decided to branch out and try a different island. This was an important trip for us because it was the first time you and dad would be flying out from California and I was meeting you at the airport in Hawaii, flying in from Vancouver. All in all, Kauai was a bit of a disappointing trip. It was rainy and cold, the water was too choppy to snorkel, and we all were left wishing for the Hawaii vacations of our past. It was however a great chance for us to spend some really nice quality time together and one of my favorite adventures of the trip was the day that you and I struck off on our own to explore the Mahogany plantation, which is when I took this snap. It was so meditative, walking through these huge forests of neatly planted tree rows with you.
This was a little snap I bet you forgot I took of us in the TV room at the new house. I made this trip right after I quit my job, having no idea what I was going to do next but figuring that the best way to figure it out would be to celebrate my newfound freedom with a trip home to spend time with my two favorite people. Because dad spent so much of his week working and commuting to/from work, we got a lot of great one-on-one time this trip, and it was pivotal for me because it was really the first trip where I felt like we'd really gotten into our rhythm of our new dynamic which was a bit less mother and child and a bit more mother and her adult daughter. We had a lot of really nice moments together on this trip and it was exactly the fuel I needed to return to Vancouver ready to figure out what the next stage of my life was going to be.
It's now been almost exactly 8 months since that September trip home. My life has changed in countless ways, but the most obvious one being that I just recently started a full time job, a dream job that really exceeds my expectations of what exactly I was hoping to find for myself when I quit my job in September. It's been a lot of hard work to get to this point and I owe so much to you. Thank you for being such a great support system. Thanks for recognizing that I needed to spread my wings and learn how to be an adult off on my own for a while and giving me the space to do so. Thank you for offering the safety net of love and support that's made taking risks just a little less scary. You are an incredible mother and I'm so grateful for your influence on my life daily. Love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day.