Wonder Women All Around

stork parkingThe first time I saw this in a parking lot, I was irrationally irritated. Seriously? I thought. Humpf! I waddled my fat pregnant ass from the back of beyond all through Christmas. Yeah, petulance is not my best side. I’m not proud.

More rationally I thought: Since when do pregnant women need special parking? It’s not a physical disability. (Said the woman whose sole complication of pregnancy was packing on 50 pounds through the constant consumption of Mexican food.)

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, stop right now and go see it. Seriously – git. I’ll wait.

Back? Good. Now we can talk.

I was not a Wonder Woman comic fan; when I did read comics, it was Spiderman for me. Bat Man on TV. Hated the 70’s Wonder Woman TV show (sorry, Meggie). But I adored the new film starring Gal Gadot, and were I a younger woman I’d happily follow her Wonder Woman into battle to bring about a just world.

I’ve always enjoyed movies where the girls got to be just as badass as the boys, that’s the appeal, for me, of X-Men, the Avengers, and the Justice League, that the girls are equally fearsome and talented. Truly treated as different, but equal.

Then I learned, maybe with the rest of the world, that Gal Gadot did her own stunts while five months pregnant. As one does.

gal-gadot-wonder-woman business insider
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman; photo Business Insider

Just before that I learned, maybe with the rest of the world, too, that Serena Williams won her latest Grand Slam title while two months pregnant. As one does.

Serena Williams SI Cover
Owning it!

Along with the beautiful, Jesus-like humanity of the Wonder Woman film and character, and the glow that came from watching a beautiful, powerful female lead take the box office it’s opening weekend, came a far better reason for my irritation at a parking sign conferring a privilege on my younger sisters I never enjoyed: we aren’t delicate flowers, really, in need of special parking places when we’re pregnant. Women are carrying on with their lives, while pregnant, every. single. day. Lifting. Toting. Multi-tasking. Conference calling and commuting. Wheeling and dealing. Building buildings. Selling stocks. Buying bonds and groceries. Cooking meals, running restaurants. Performing brain surgery or delivering other women’s babies. Lifting aged patients. Performing weddings, baptizing babies, burying the dead. Picking-up, dropping-off, checking-in, driving, carrying, and tending children, husbands, wives, and partners, too. In other words, women are Wonder Womaning all over the place every day and every where you look. Often, while pregnant.

Gone, for me, is any whiff of condescension or patronage, replaced instead with a sense of a gift given in recognition of shear badassery. A gift given not to “weak” pregnant women, but to pregnant women who are soldiering on as women always have done.

And I admit, when I was preggers and roughly the size of Jupiter, there were a few days towards the end I would have put aside my stupid pride and used that parking space, were they popular 28 years ago, so I’ll not begrudge my younger sisters for enjoying it. They’re earning it every. single. day.

Keep on Wonder Womaning, Sisters.


Kids, Cameras, & Captures

One of the things I love about photography is it gives me a handy place to hide and watch people.

This is a big difference between me and Paul: though both introverts I find people fascinating, while his personal jury is out (I’m being kind).  It’s a difference that binds rather than dividing us, as both find the other’s perspective amusing, in the way one finds a crazy relative endearing. Auntie Martha may be mad as a hatter, but damn is she ever funny.

Kids are awesome to watch and photograph until they become conscious of the camera and start posing for every shot. The instant gratification of smartphone cameras has made this worse, I fear. It’s hard to get a good, candid picture of our seven year old granddaughter, who now vogues for every shot. Capturing her when she’s just being seven and fully engaged in life is the best, because it’s when her sweet, curious, dare-devil heart shines the brightest.

Jackie Summons 16 x 9
Jackie summons the Gulls

Not long after we met our now daughter-in-law, Sarah, I got this shot of her and Sean, Paul’s youngest son.

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I have no idea what he was saying but man is she ever listening to him. The lens captured what Paul and I had happily noted: she really likes him! They were so gooey-newly-in-love, each inquiring if the other was enjoying the meal. It would have been revolting if it hadn’t pleased us so, and we drove away saying to each other, “She gets him! She loves him anyway! And she’s nice, and smart, and pretty!” because really, what else is there for parents to want when meeting an adult child’s intended? Scrape away the need for income and being practical and tidy and not an ax murderer, and I believe we all just want our grown children to love some worthy person who also loves them back. Will have his or her six when needed. Gets them, in the fundamental, important ways the rest of the world may (and often does) miss. We already know all the wonderful quirks about our children that make them lovable but the wider world is a hard, impatient place, and folks are far more likely to see our babies’ flaws than finer qualities. It’s a gift to parents when you see a sensible and pleasant person clearly besotted with your offspring.

look of love, b & w

Flash forward a couple years and Sean and Sarah have a little one all their own. When lucky (and on high speed continuous shooting), I get a shot where one or the other of them are in their own little world with their little man, and it makes my heart happy and also makes me wish all children had parents who love them as much as these two love him.

SJ & Sarah pattycake 5 x 7

Paul’s namesake has a new girlfriend. She’s been a while in coming but clearly worth the wait. She’s smart, sweet, practical and makes him happy. Here he is feeding her a line of BS a mile wide and twice as deep, as a good Irishman does:

Alice & PD3 5 x 7 color

See it? She gets him, and loves him anyway. Plus dimples.

It’s frustrating when I don’t get the technical stuff right, or think I and my equipment are faster or better than we are but, hiding behind my camera I sometimes see things others maybe don’t and when the Force is with me, I can capture it.

Alice & PD3, 5 x 7 (2).jpg
Blather on, lucky man. She loves you anyway.

Gotcha!  She gets him.