Boy, oh boy…or should I say, Mom, oh mom?!? …why is it that every time I sat down to write this I had the most difficult time finding words to put on paper? And, I realized, it’s quite possibly because trying to capture everything that a mom is to a son or a daughter and, most especially, what my mother is to me is basically impossible. As a Buffalo wedding photographer, I am privileged to capture the intimate and touching moments of a mother/child relationship during a couple’s special day – from a mother helping her daughter step into “the” dress, to a mother-son uniquely choreographed dance, to mothers lighting unity candles. To sweeten the deal, I often watch brides whom I have photographed on their wedding days become mothers themselves and commemorate their burgeoning mother/child relationship with newborn portraits. It’s an honor, to say the least.
Many of the images I capture over the course of a wedding day include special gifts and/or letters given from bride to groom and vice versa. Frequently, similar exchanges occur from child to mom or mother-in-law. I often wonder as my camera clicks, what did that letter say to make mom cry or laugh or feel whatever emotion those words evoked? I can imagine many notes have similar and resounding themes, but also carry distinct and unique memories, inside jokes and the like. Here’s how I imagine a number of letters could start from any son or daughter, on a wedding day or any day, for that matter.
Dear Mom…thank you for the advice.
Dear Mom…you’re my best friend.
Dear Mom…you were right.
Dear Mom…I couldn’t have done it without you.
Dear Mom…thanks for always backing me up.
Dear Mom…I never truly understood everything you are until I became a mother.
Dear Mom…your sacrifice made my life better.
I took the liberty to imagine a few letters to correspond with some of my Buffalo weddings, as well as for clients experiencing the newness and joy of motherhood during newborn portrait sessions:
You have prepared me for this day and I couldn’t be happier. While I may be walking down an aisle out of one phase of my life and into a new and exciting future, please know that I will never forget what you’ve taught me, where I come from and what you expect of me. You’ll be with me, as you always have been, to share in my bright future and I trust that you’ll be proud of the woman you’ve raised. Thank you celebrating my happiness with me.
We did it! You are my foundation. You planted my roots, nurtured my growth and even when I may have raised a bit of hell, you knew I’d grow into the strong person I am today ensuring I can create a similar foundation for my own family. I love you with the strength of the tallest and biggest oak tree. Always remember, you are the woman that I’ll have love the longest.
I promise to carry on our traditions. I promise to instill in my children what you have instilled in me and what Grammie has instilled in you. I recognize that my past helps create my future. Sunday dinners will have a new home to rotate through! Today a bride, tomorrow a wife, forever your daughter. I love you.
I have entered unchartered territory. This world is bright and bold and pretty scary for a small nugget like me. But, it’s also beautiful and full of wonder and amazing things…things that I can discover because you’ve been with me since day one. Your embrace makes me feel safe. My heart is in your hands. I trust you and love you always.
Although my wedding day has passed, I thought: what would I say if I wrote a letter to my mom right now? Well…
As I think back to my own wedding, I smile fondly remembering the moments between my mom and me that day. But, I also have a tinge of sadness knowing that I don’t have those moments captured. Unfortunately, my own wedding photographer didn’t get a single picture of my mom and me together and it breaks my heart. I tried my best to relinquish control, enjoy being a bride and just have fun but that turned into many images missed. Luckily, the photographer who trained me (20 years ago) taught me well. He taught me the importance of all those parent and family photos. So, not only do I make it a priority to capture those moments for my clients, those are some of my favorite images from a wedding day. I promise these are the moments you’ll cherish years after your wedding.
Thank you for parenting me. And, that doesn’t just mean thank you for being my mom (which I am very much grateful for). That means, thank you for choosing to parent me: choosing to teach me right from wrong, choosing to discipline, choosing to never speak poorly of yourself or others. Your choice to be a mom first, even in the moments when you probably wanted to be a friend to me, has proven to be my biggest gain in life because you now have become my very best friend, with the understanding and knowledge that you can and always will continue to parent me no matter my age.
You have illuminated a path, without entirely paving it for me. You’ve allowed me to fall and offered your hand when I was ready to get up – and at the right times, you only let me trip and not completely fall. You always had my back, even in the rare moments when I thought you didn’t. I know better now. You are my fiercest advocate.
When someone asks me for the best piece of advice my mother has ever given me, I always draw a blank and can’t think of any anything to verbalize. And, I realized why – there isn’t just one piece of advice that’s been the best (they are all that good). Or, even more, there isn’t one that you’ve needed to give over and over because I know to trust your advice the first time and I learn from it right then and there. So, my actions moving forward never need that specific advice again.
You have taught me to become a responsible and mature adult who others can and will trust to be reliable, honest and compassionate. Giving, too. Because you gave everything you had for me, often sacrificing yourself and what you wanted on my behalf. You celebrated my accomplishments as if they were your own and on those days when you beamed with pride, those are my happiest days.