This week I draw inspiration from victoriabruce at The Blurred Line. In her post, itself inspired by artist Ivan Cash, she discussed technology’s power to both connect us and keep us apart. It’s a beautiful piece and I encourage you to take a look.
What really struck me was the Ivan Cash Last Photo project.
- What’s the last photo you took on your phone?
- What does it say about you?
I immediately tapped my photo roll to see the last photo I had taken.
This is a shot of my oldest and youngest sons taken last weekend. They are walking to a nearby park, importantly, without me. Also important to me, it’s not our usual park. They wanted a place to play some whiffle ball that wasn’t our backyard and our park is filled with soccer players on Sundays. My husband and I suggested the nearby skate park – uncrowded, close enough and with a perfect square of grass.
“Can you take us?” asked my 9 year-old.
“No,” I replied. “But you can go with your big brother.”
So they packed their baseball bags, water and snacks and set off on their adventure.
Why is it that this was a big enough deal for me to snap a picture? At their ages I had the run of the neighborhood, boundaries which I stretched on an almost daily basis. I knew my way around, knew my way home and at least thought I knew how to take care of myself. Walking 5 blocks to a park was no big deal.
But, as a mom, every time I watch them walk away from me it’s with a flutter in my heart. I cannot keep my kids safe every second of every day. The tragic events in schools and theaters and on the streets of Chicago are daily reminders that violence lurks everywhere. But I don’t want to live in fear, and certainly don’t want to raise fearful children.
This summer has already been a momentous one (at least for me) in my older two boys striking off on their own. Whether on bike, or on foot, or with friends, they are stretching their boundaries, seeking new adventures, moving out of my line of vision.
I have to trust them and I have to trust myself. As parents we’ve given them the right tools. We’ve instilled confidence in them. The fact that they’re ready and eager to test their limits is a sign that they are growing up right. Right?
And, when it comes right down to it, we’ve given them phones. For all the times those devices divide their attention from us, we can connect to them instantly.
I know — in fact, I hope — this is only one of many images of them walking away confidently.
How about you? What’s your last photo and what does it say about you?
Related: Surrendering to Helplessness, Growing Up Too Fast, Oh Boy Oh Man
8 thoughts on “Last Photo”
So, cool to see this spreading. It is so hard to watch my boys push boundaries. When it comes to climbing trees and playing rugby I prefer to close my eyes.
Thank you again for the inspiration. It was an aha moment for me.
Rugby! You are a brave mom. I have to admit — we drew the line at Football. So now it is, of course, the forbidden fruit.
We’ve come a long way. When we were growing up, no phone was needed. Of course, you didn’t hear about school shootings and kidnappings. I am glad children have access to these phones. It’s a way to get in touch immediately. I love your photo.
Thanks for the love. I’m grateful too for the technology. Still wondering how I ever grew up without it. Haha.
I often wonder if the world has truly grown so much more dangerous, or if we are only more aware of the dangers, and so it seems worse. Looking at my grand-babies, all I want is for them to be safe and happy. Knowing I can guarantee neither makes me a bit sad, but then I look at them and see how wonderful they are and I feel a bit reassured. As you said, “As parents we’ve given them the right tools. We’ve instilled confidence in them.” That is the best thing we can do for them.
I agree that it’s the awareness that has changed more than the level of danger. However, I do think the gun violence has increased. That’s a problem is desperate need of a solution.
Fabulous post, Alena. Much love to you and your boys!
Thank you Justine. It’s so nice to hear from you.