Years and years ago there was "Self-Portrait Tuesday" meme that made its way through the blogosphere. I wasn't a blogger at the time, so I never participated, and the only remnants of it today are a Flickr group that seems largely populated by teen-aged girls trying to out-sexy one another. Back then I really liked the idea of this trend, though, and I liked seeing the women behind the words that I was reading. I decided to call on this little bit of the past today for a couple of reasons.
The first is that I think moms are far too often absent from the family photo book. Mom is so frequently the one behind the lens, that it's easy to forget to get her in front of the camera. I have, literally, close to one thousand pictures of Silas (such is life in our modern age of digital cameras and infinite storage!) but I'm in probably less than 20 of them. I made Steve promise me that he would make a point of photographing me with our son, but it's just not a part of his habit yet. When I look back on my own baby pictures, it's fun to see what I looked like, but it's even more interesting to see what those around me, especially mom, looked like. I want Silas to have a complete recording of his childhood, not just 37 pictures of himself rolling around on the floor (as adorable as they might be). Part of this desire is a little selfish too. When I'm 60 and reminiscing about my son's infancy, part of what I'll be reminiscing about is my role during that time too. I want to be visibly present to see the ways in which I've changed and grown along with my son.
Secondly, I read the words of so many women through their blogs and yet I have a mental picture of so few of them. I don't know if we're all just too self-conscious, or too self-critical, but I like seeing the woman behind the words on the screen and I have yet to see one that I didn't think was absolutely beautiful. I think it's important, in some way, to maintain an identity that exists independently of my role as a mom, which is why I swore (before I had a child) that I would never use my kids' photo as my profile picture (a pledge that I broke almost immediately). Right now, mom-hood pretty much defines my every thought and action, but I need to do the crucial work of making sure that "Courtney" doesn't get lost in the fray. So, for today, in this small little moment, here she is.