Some time ago on October 24th a little girl was born and her parents named her Alison. At the young age of 19 she was already married and had a young daughter that she and her husband named Jade. Yes, Alison is my mother and today is her birthday. Happy Birthday Mum! You know, I think back to my 19 year old self and can’t imagine what kind of mother I would have been at that time, so shy, stomping around Grenoble in my Doc Martens and my long lace dresses. I sometimes think that my mother probably thought that she would have to wait a million years to be a grandmother, which she kind of did really, and then one day, out of the blue, she received a text message telling her that someone would be calling her “Grandma” in the near future. Actually I think it was something along the lines of “Are you ready to be a Grandma?!”. I know, I know, I should have called (I did pretty much immediately afterwards), but I was lying in the grass in Washington Square Park, imagining her reaction and giggling to myself, so I sent a text first. Mum was there when Luna was born, the one person who told the idiotic nurse to come back and answer my questions, the one person to tell another idiotic nurse to not take my child away before I had held her. Thankfully, because I think the lasting memories of Luna’s birth would have been much, much worse if I hadn’t got to hold her, as hazy as everything was at that point… She also arrived not long after Aurora was born. I promised to text her when I went into labor so she could purchase a ticket, from Sacramento to NYC, and I did, around 10pm her time. Ticket was booked immediately with a departure the following morning. Mum was still sleeping when Aurora arrived just a few hours later, the first notification a photo that I sent to the group text message conversation we had with my sister. (I have a photo of it somewhere… I was having a normal chat with my sister, then “She’s coming NOW”, and my sister jokingly saying “PUSH!!”, and 5 minutes later, a photo of a screaming baby). Mum was also here for Ludo’s birth, which fortunately did not require a plane ticket, looking after her two little granddaughters for the 36 plus hours I was in labor and the 24 hours I spent in hospital afterwards. I don’t know what we would have done without her, as there are still very few people Luna really trusts, and Cesar couldn’t take any time off of work. So my Mum became a Nana three times in three years, after many years of watching her eldest daughter (me if you have forgotten that through all this rambling) live in different places in the world, ending up running around NYC, still trying to figure out life.
This past weekend we watched my mother run from stage to stage over and over again, with two huge cameras and all essential necessities strapped to her, shooting bands until way after the sun went down. And this was the second time she was doing that in three weeks, AND she had just photographed Paul Weller the night before too! In all of my memories my mother has had a camera in her hand or bag, taking photos of us and of everything around us. I have photos of myself and my siblings as babies and children, photos of my father who passed away when I was 10, photos of my grandfathers and Nana, all watching over us now, of my grandmother who is still here. I have photos of all of the different places and countries we have lived in, of friends long gone from my life but never forgotten, and photos of holidays in special places. She passed this love to document via photo on to me, and it always makes me so happy to look through all of the photos that I have taken since I was about 13. Nowadays it’s easy to snap shots and selfies on our smartphones, but we just had film back when I was a teen and not everyone had a camera. I have pictures of my friends that no one else would have taken, and I am so glad of it. And I can never thank my mum enough for teaching me the importance of having a passion and pursuing it no matter what. I will never have the amazing talent my mother has in photography, but I do have her passion for creating something, and working hard to make something of myself. Even if this something is not always what society would deem to be what I “should” be. Because I was always taught that we should be what we want to be, not what someone else says we should be.
I could tell you many awesome stories about my mum. How hard she has always worked (and how I wish she could just go and retire by the sea now and live doing ONLY what she wants to do), how much she has done for Karli, Dylan, and me, and my children. I could tell stories of how she is part of the foundation of the translation and localization industry, and how it wouldn’t be what it is today without her insight and brain; stories of creating amazingly beautiful homes wherever she lays her head. I could tell other stories of putting up with wild teenagers and 20 somethings, always making sure we were safe, and our friends were safe too. I could ramble on all night about shows and Bruce Springsteen in the car, Cannibal Corpse and The Sisters of Mercy, vegetarianism, Jamaica, Poland, Holland, France, England, punk, The Jam, and our all-time favorite: Tim Buckley! I could also tell sadder stories, and annoying ones, and very, very happy stories, like a Marillion show, and jumping in the ocean on Long Island, and Christmas trees, and the same Christmas dinner I am passing along to my children. But today I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM and I LOVE YOU (we all do, Cesar, Luna, Aurora, Ludo, me, and of course JoJoMone the cat). I will make you a gluten-free cake as soon as Dylan gets here.
(There are many, many more photos of mum, but everything between me being little and about 13 resides in a few boxes at my mother’s house!).
If you want to check out my mother's amazing photography you can check out here website HERE and her bog HERE. If you live in the Sacramento area and are interested in having your photo taken for an event or life event, I'm sure she would love to hear from you!