When I was little I knew people who had aunts and uncles right on their doorstep, cousins in the same class at school, or grandparents who they could walk to for tea. We didn’t. My grandmother was in the next village when we were at home in the holidays and when we were at school (long story cut short, I sort of went to boarding school with my parents) the nearest aunt and uncle were a good couple of hours away. The family was spread out over the country and whenever either half got together we all knew that a family photo was obligatory. And so my childhood photo albums are populated with these occasional shots; all of my Dad’s family in the back garden at my grandparents’ house (a photo that took so much organising and concentration we all then happily went off for the afternoon leaving the front door wide open), the photo that my Mum used to keep on the kitchen notice board of her family of five siblings, their spouses and all the children (she used to have people guess which child belonged to who), right though to the very last complete photo of the ‘Northern Hemisphere’ family, only missing my cousin and his wife who live in Australia, and featuring Elma as a just visible bump.
There are plenty of family shots of just Mum, Dad, my sister and me, but I have a special fondness for the big family shots. I think it’s that they somehow give you an increased sense of your place in the world; not just sister and daughter, but cousin and niece too. I look at those photos and I know who I am to everyone else in the picture, and I know that I am loved just as I love them.
So this Easter weekend knowing that, for the first time in ages, both of H’s siblings and our sister-in-law were going to be there for Easter Sunday, I packed the tripod. Now if you’ve seen my Easter video you’ll be all too well aware that although I may have packed the tripod, I did manage to forget both the remote trigger and the connector that joins the camera and the tripod. Smashing preparation I know.
But who lets a little thing like a missing tripod connector hold them back. We see H’s family fairly often considering how far away they live, but usually just his parents, or his parents and his sister, or his brother and sister-in-law. When we do all get together it tends to be Christmas which is (a) cold, (b) dark, (c) rainy, (d) really cold (it is Yorkshire), (e) everyone is far too full of Christmas cheer and mince pies to come outside and have their photo taken and (f) once it snowed. A group photo is not going to be on the cards.
But Easter, Easter with its chicks and yellow and sunshine and Spring and we’ll gloss over the torrential rain of storm Katie; Easter has serious possibility. Not least the fact that everyone was out in the garden anyway for the Egg hunt, albeit wrapped up in snuggly winter coats (see point (d) above re Yorkshire).
And so my Me and Mine photos this month are really more like ‘Ours and All of Ours’; Grandma, Granddad, H and me, his siblings and his bonus sister, and our little trio.
All of the photos had to be taken by setting the timer and running back and forth which Pip clearly thinks is a most strange thing for his Mama to be doing, but it did the trick, and the patio table pulled over to the edge of the railing made a great stand in tripod. And yes it means that each photo took a bit of time, which may perhaps have exhausted the patience of certain members of the party who clearly decided to theme themselves accordingly…
But I don’t mind; I love these shots anyway. They tell the story of my children’s place in the world; sisters, brother, daughters, son, grandchildren, nieces and nephew. And there’s even a couple of godparents in the mix there too. Along with their Grandpa and their other aunt and uncle and cousin, these are the people who love them the most in the whole wide world.
Our not so little family, in March.
– and yes, still abiding by the rule that not one photo I take can have everyone looking at the camera!
And if you have a moment, I would truly love a nomination in the MADs and the BiBs blogging awards for writer, craft, or family/school days (all the details are here). I heard over the weekend that I’d also been nominated in the photography category which was a wonderful surprise, so thank you whoever that was – as for my picks for photography I am horribly torn between, The Goblin Child, Mummy Daddy Me, Sorry About The Mess, and Dear Little Daisy, so if you vote for them and I vote for them, they can all be finalists together and then I would not envy the judging panel one bit!