I absolutely love this photo. It’s a treasured piece of my past that I enjoy looking at because it reminds me of the stories my mother would tell me, all about her childhood growing up with her three sisters and brother on their farm “Karoui”, just outside of Culcairn, NSW.
The photo is of my Aunty Alma, my mother’s youngest sister. Isn’t she beautiful! There wasn’t one of my mother. I never really pressed her for the reason why but found out years later.
Mum was the middle child, worked alongside her brother on the farm, drove the tractor and worked hard. She married late and then there was the three of us – mum, dad and me.
Her three sisters had married years before, having worked in Albury and met their respective husbands, all army men, as they came up to Bandiana postings. It was during these working years that mum’s sisters led a pretty exciting life (by all accounts) and had the opportunity to have professional photographs taken at Marguerite Studios in Albury.
I remember very clearly a day many years later when I was showing mum some photos that I had printed of her and me with my children and I said Oh mum, look at you, you’re so beautiful.” Her response was totally unexpected….”No, I’m ugly” she said.
There was a pause.
I could have let that go because sometimes we may say funny things like that. But I felt that there was something more. There was something in her voice that I picked up on.
“But mum, look at you” I said again…”Look at how beautiful you are.” I insisted.Then something happened that was totally unexpected. Tears welled, and she burst into tears.
This was my beautiful mother, a loving and caring woman, then in her seventies, and I had upset her. It still upsets me when I recall this story.
When I asked her why, and tried to piece things together, it all came out. She thought she was ‘the ugly sister’. She saw her sisters as beautiful but all these years she had believed that she wasn’t like them.
This is when I cried along with my beautiful mother for the lost years of her knowing just how beautiful she really was.
I truly believe that beauty comes from the inside and there was no one, anywhere, who was more beautiful than my mother. Her heart overflowed with love for me, and my boys, her grandsons.
I am a Women’s Portrait Photographer, but I wasn’t back then. If only I had taken the time to take more photos of her.
One photo of mum and me that is really special was taken on my graduation day. She was the one who stood by me always, and helped me whenever she could.
I haven’t shared this story before, so thanks for reading if you got this far.
Does your mum have beautiful photos of herself so that she knows how beautiful she is?
Do you have photos of yourself that you love? If not, why not?