“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you””
The first time I actually listened to the lyrics of the song “Cat’s In The Cradle” my eyes welled up with tears. My father passed away at a very young age, he was 32. I was only 6.
I had just turned 20 and was driving my 1969 Econoline camper van to the mountains on yet another weekend for hiking and photography. This was back in ’74 or ’75. It had been years since dad had passed but I could still relate to the little boy without a father. Now at the age of 60 my eyes still moisten thinking about that song.
Like it or not we do grow up to be more like our parents than we wish or want. I lost my father but I was blessed to have a mother who was strong, loving and attentive. She was my greatest fan and source of encouragement. I have two beautiful adult girls, they will always be my little girls with whom I cherish the relationship that we have together. I have always told my wife that when I do take off to the mountains I always end up coming home early because I miss my family. I cannot get home soon enough.
Over the years I have followed the careers of a few aspiring photographers. They are gone from home for weeks at a time in search of the elusive, perfect photograph which is fine when you are a single person without a young family. When you leave that little boy or girl at home for days and weeks at a time you are making a choice, photos over them. Sure they are happy to see you when you return home for the Christmas holidays but like the Harry Chapin song even if they don’t think it it is impressed upon them, “I’m gonna be like you Dad, You know I’m gonna be like you.” Marc?
We seldom realize the consequence of our choices when we are young and foolish but those consequences last a lifetime like it or not.
I love my photographs but I love my children more. So much more. Relationships are so much more important than simple photographs.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays,