I love this subject and probably not being a mum I have never had to worry about my child becoming a creative or a photographer but it is something I think about often.
I remember when I announced to the world (well my little world) almost 16 years ago after doing a photography course in Italy that I was going to become a photographer.
I had all sorts of reactions. A dear friend who was a radio announcer made a couple of wise cracks about the sun setting over the water and clichéd photos and with a wave of a hand sort of dismissed the idea (in his mind). In mine, I had that beautiful naivety of not knowing anything about what I was doing and thought I would show him better.
Others told me that I had had my fun and now it was time to get a real job. I am sure it was out of care and visions of poverty in my old age but I was so ‘all in’ there was no way I was taking his advice either.
But when I told my mother that I want to be a professional photographer, she looked at me with belief and trust and said ‘that sounds lovely dear’. She didn’t ask me for a business plan, she didn’t come up with all the excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it and go live on the other side of the world.
My mum did the most fabulous thing a mum can do for a creative which is to believe I could do it. She had seen me struggle for years in a business I didn’t love, she had seen me single and lonely with one too many heartbreaks to even suggest for a minute a safe alternative in a city office. She had seen me try to cuddle up to my Gucci and Pucci without it working!!!
I am sure it hurt I was spending a ton of time on the other side of the world but she put what I wanted before what she wanted and what a gift she gave me.
My mum and dad came to stay with me in Florence and walked around the piazzas and hear my endless enthusiasm for this place I loved so dearly. They ate, drank and lived like Italians. They got to see their daughter bursting with happiness when her first article was published in Marie Claire and they almost popped with pride at the same time.
They took my favourite boat ride with me to Da Adolfo on the Amalfi Coast and fell in love with the concept of a beachbed and a restaurant at the the back of the beach. They felt special and lived a beautiful moment and saw the coast I love so much when Sergio the owner let us tag along on a boat ride to Amalfi.
They have devotedly dashed up to the newsagent every time a magazine has come out with my pics and bought numerous copies of my books for everyone and anyone who needed a present.
My mum and her team of ninja grannies became my biggest fans, moving books around the shelves in Sydney bookstores so they were always up the front and couldn’t help telling anyone that wanted to listen that it was her daughter’s and it would be a REALLY good thing if you bought it.
Although we have shared many years apart we have also shared this amazing journey together. They knew the backstory, they have seen it from the start, brick by brick building this thing, every brick I built was their brick and they have helped me and shared in the joy and reward that I have shared. They welcomed my Italian boyfriend (now husband) into their lives with open arms and without jealousy or fear.
When ‘we’ started this journey who would have ever known how it was going to pan out. Maybe they could see the fire in my eyes or in my belly, maybe they decided to trust that I was finally on my path and this time I would hit ‘emotional’ and creative gold.
If you are reading this and you are a mum and your child wants to go on a journey of their own that maybe doesn’t fit with your vision for their life, stay open to the magic that you could share together, the love, the support and the joy that you too could bring to your beloved child’s life and the magic that you will help them find in themselves and in the world.
Love you Mum and Dad, thanks for the belief and trust.