Mother's Day 2011
There's something about this picture of my mom that I really like. Taken in August 1942, before she got married; before my brother and I were even a concept, let alone conceived—before my father died, leaving her to raise us on her own—the photo shows her in simple, crisp attire, possibly dressed for work. She might be worried about something, or just letting her mind wander.
Julia Helen Pactovis Levery (1916-1998)
Not that she didn't absolutely love being our mother, nor that she ceased having an inner life when my brother and I were born (quite the contrary), but somehow I enjoy this mystery about her, from a time when we didn't know each other, a past life before motherhood and going to work primarily for her children's sake took the lion's share of her time and energy. Here, to my eyes, she appears thoughtful, unposed, her attention miles away from the process of being photographed. I have no idea where she is standing; the neighborhood is unfamiliar to me; and I am happy to leave this moment in my mother's life private and unreachable, hers alone.
While this is a day to remember mothers (which should of course be more than one day a year), my thoughts are especially with single mothers everywhere, because I was raised by one.