On Sunday, Jonah and I decided to go on a walk. The sun was shining bright warming the back of our necks, the sky was an endless blue, the air crisp with the scent of Spring in its trail, it was the perfect day to explore. As we climbed the thick and sturdy hills of our neighbourhood, Jonah was dreaming up his usual adventures and pretending what it would like to fly. I, on the other hand was busy dreaming up lists of things I needed to do. My mind was full of things that I needed to buy at the store, people I needed to call, things I needed to sort and so on. Jonah talked non stop, asking countless questions and singing at the top of his lungs, truly in a world all of his own. I tried to center my mind on him, conversing back and forth in short quick sentences all the while my mind roaming to-do lists. At one point, Jonah reached down and picked up a stone and put it in his pocket. This is not unusual for my boy who has always collected things on his journey through childhood. When I suggested that he leave the stone on the ground because of the countless stones he already has at home, he simply refused because this stone was “SPECIAL”. I tried posing many arguments as to why he just needed to leave it (mostly due to me having to constantly throw them out when he’s not looking so his brother doesn’t eat them) but Jonah tearfully pled… “You just don’t understand Mum, this stone is so special”.
For the last 3 years, I have kept a jar full of the things I find in Jonah’s pockets. Ive done this mainly because Ive always been so mesmerised at the random display of items that he finds and there has always been something in me that felt as if I should keep them for him. Though it may be a bunch of garbage to me, I know to him, it’s his sacred treasure. I always remember this one time when I was in line at the grocery store and Jonah had asked if he could go and look at the magazines. About 5 minutes later, I look up and see my little boy lying flat on his stomach in the middle of the grocery store isle with one arm stretched as far as it could reach underneath the magazine rack. I screamed “Jonah, GET UP!” he quickly rose, proudly holding 2 dusty coins that he found underneath the magazine rack. He smiled at me and slid them into his pocket. This happens everywhere we go and if you look close, you will always see his eyes scanning back and forth of every step he takes in search for his next find.
I finally said to Jonah that he could keep his stone because I know deep down that that stone really does mean something to him. As we walked home, I started thinking about being a child and how lovely it is to find happiness in the simplest of things. When does that change? When do we stop looking at the ordinary to find the extraordinary? When do we stop looking at the beauty that surrounds us and allow what we see to just be enough? We live in a culture where society constantly tells us that we need to be more, have more, do more, look better, feel better, we constantly focus our attention on social media and compare our lives to everyone else’s and only wish for that much more. At times I long for my childhood when everything was just enough because that was all I had. I wish that I could take that little girl inside of me and bring her back to surface, blow off the dust and make her shiny again. Isn’t that what life is all about? Seeing the world with child-like eyes and building magical forts in the living room? I don’t want to get caught up in the mundane as I so often do… I want to search for the good from the minute I wake up until the time I go to bed. I want to laugh with my children without thinking about what I need to do next. I want to LOVE hard and dance in the rain. I want to feel warmth inside of my life and search for adventure. When I die, I want my heart to be full of love and I will know that I can leave this world with just that and that be all I need. I will look back with WONDER and slip away knowing it was a fantastic ride.
On our walk home, Jonah and I SANG at the top of our lungs. We took photographs of the blossoming flowers and threw stones in the creek. We laughed and talked and imagined what it would be like if we could fly. Sunday carried us home and that night when I put Jonah to bed, I reached deep within his pocket and pulled out his stone and placed it in his jar. It was just another souvenir saved from a day like no other.
I am a Creative Portrait Photographer based in Brighton & Hove. My vision is to create unique, authentic imagry that captures the real you, unscripted.