Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sharing mothers' smiles

When holidays like Mother's Day are approaching, we typically brainstorm ideas for stories, features and photos that will involve our readers and provide something interesting for both print and online editions. We're particularly conscious of our readers' engagement with social media, and we look to how people are using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for ideas.

This year, online editor Eileen Faust noted that one of her sisters often posts a picture of their Mom as her Facebook status picture on Mother's Day. Following that idea, we decided to ask readers to send us pictures of their moms. We're compiling them for a full page in print on Sunday; we've created a Pinterest board, and they're also appearing on our Facebook page.

I was immediately jealous of the pictures my co-workers were able to share of themselves with their mothers. First of all, it will be 10 years in August since my mother died, and I miss her every day. Seeing photos of daughters and moms laughing together -- at family picnics, a Phillies game, children's birthday parties, dinners together -- just makes me miss her more.

It's not that I was robbed of a full life with my mother; she was 86, and I was 48 when she died. But there's never a milestone in life or a precious moment that I don't want to share with my Mom. That's just the way it is.

And if seeing my younger co-workers with their mothers wasn't enough age-envy, there's the technology gap. I don't have any digital photos of my Mom, and I don't have many print photos of just the two of us. Once I was married and a mother, it seems all the pictures we took were my Mom and the kids.

So I ended up with these two pictures. One is a Mother's Day photo of me and my mother, circa 1980. It wouldn't require time-advancing photo techniques to illustrate how much I would age in resemblance of her. Any current photo of me will prove the truth of what so many people who knew her tell me.

The other photo of my Mom was taken at a birthday party for her at my brother's house -- it is a picture of my mother laughing. It satisfies the other longing because it brings her to life.

Sunday's Living front will feature the photos of many moms submitted by our readers. When we brainstormed how to feature Mother's Day, we settled on inviting readers to share their mothers' smiles. Because these are the images that live forever, even when mothers are gone.

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