My 11-year-old son is an only child. For years he has longed for a sibling. The circumstances being what they were, that was never going to happen. I understand. I'm the oldest of three girls and there is a certain camaraderie between siblings that cannot be replaced with cousins or friends. He feels alone in this world and spends more time alone that I am comfortable with. I have done my best to fulfill his life with sports, pets, and pretty much anything his heart desires. I have always tried to show him the bright side of the situation. He is always top priority and it is always his turn for whatever it is that we are doing. Yet in his eyes there is something missing.
Over the past few years as I have really started to take photography seriously, I have looked for ways to include him. Most of my work revolves around him and our life on the farm. After spending our first year exploring every nook and cranny of the farm we began to branch out, looking to local conservation grounds to explore. Recently we have been exploring those that have old barns on them. The stories that these places hold are now only in our imaginations.
I began to call these expeditions “Photo Adventures.” These little outings serve several purposes. First and foremost, I am making time to spend with my son. In the past I have been guilty of sending him out of the room because I was too busy doing household chores to spend time with him. When we are out exploring we are connecting. Connecting to the land and to each other. I am creating art and he gets to spend time with me. Time that is precious and fleeting. There are no chores to do. No heaps of laundry or dishes that have to be done at that moment and we are just together, soaking in the landscape around us and creating new memories. All of which are faithfully documented by my trusty camera.
While I can't give him the sibling he craves, I can do my best to give him the most fulfilling life that I possibly can. I feel that him being an only child has made him an old soul, wise beyond his years. And I am in awe of the person that he is becoming right before my eyes. I can only hope that when he thinks back on his childhood that he will fondly remember our Photo Adventures as time that we spent together, creating wonderful memories. I know that I will.