Growing up, my Mom took so many pictures of us that my first words were “Just one more.”
The result was mountains of photos and slides that are precious to me not only because Mom is such a good photographer, particularly skilled at composition and capturing the essence of her subjects, but also because they are an inheritance of his own history for 3B.
I can show him myself and his aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, and so on as they grew up, as they gathered, as they laughed with and loved each other. For all the times that I whined, “Not just one more.” I’m now glad that Mom always persisted.
That persistence, and the constant presence of the monocular lens observing us, ready to capture our images, had its effects on us. One was my desire to emulate Mom’s photography skills, although I certainly lack the discipline to come close to her level. Another effect was shifting my view of the world from, “Look, something pretty.” to “That would make a good picture.” or even “That’s pretty, but it would be a terrible photo.”
I often won’t bring a camera along because I can’t stop looking at the world as a series of opportunitites for pictures and just let it wash over me. However, this then frustrates me when I see something particularly picturesque and think, “If only I had my camera.” All my life, I’ve thought that this is an affliction that only affects my mother’s children. Until tonight.
Mama and I were walking 3B and Barky down the street on our evening constitutional when a bird suddenly fluttered down from a nearby tree, landing haphazardly in the basket of our stroller. And I mean haphazardly. This little tweeter tumbled down out of the tree with no more stable direction than Woodstock flying in a hurricane. It’s rather amazing that he ended up shooting through all the hoops and handles to get into that basket.
While I’m standing there, trying to process all of this–in a split second, wondering how to get this bird away from 3B before it passes him the West Nile or Avian Flu virus, or before it hops up into the stroller seat and starts making like 3B is Tippi Hedren–Mama calmly turns back to me and asks, “Do you have your camera?”
Clearly, Mama is related in some way to my Mom. Who else would ask that, when confronted with the peril of a puffy, fluffy little tweetie perched so near their newborn son?
But then again, I am still my mother’s son, so of course I had a camera:
In the time it took me to pull my phone from my pocket, the little bastard had already pooped on 3B’s burp diaper.
I know that the bird brings disease and danger to you, but hold on 3B, you were waving your arm in that first one . . . let me get . . . wait for it . . . just one more.
Oh, and then let me get one of the bird trying to escape. (Don’t birds look up before they take off? Apparently, not all of them do. This one flew straight up into the bottom of 3B’s seat.)
And just one more of just the bird. (I believe I actually said, “Hold it right there little guy, while I frame this.” As if I’m the Ansel Adams of camera phones.)
Finally, the bird just wobbled off across the street, bumbling through the air about eight inches above the pavement, rolling to a landing on the median.
As we walked away, I called my Mom and related Mama’s reaction to a bird landing in her son’s stroller.