I could start this with a glossy “we went to Carowinds for spring break!” I could, I could. But it’s been nearly a year since I shot these, and we were there on spring break, and truth be told the photos feel like the snapping of one of those big clamshell purses, the entirety of my youth now completed gobbled up, mouth closed, by the next generation repeating my experiences.

It’s so much easier to feel that closing around me, living here in the area near where I grew up. More I-remember-when’s. More, I-remember-being-the-kid-when-my-parents-did-this.

I know one of my mom’s favorite pictures of me was in front of this carousel—not this exact one, but one at the beach, the summer I was 6 or so. In true 1990s form, I had on this pastel block-colored pantsuit with a sailor collar. And now the one here of Grace in front of the Carowinds carousel is one of my favorites of her.

We haven’t spoken since October of 2015. And I have no idea if she reads my blog or ever searches for it, but just in case she does, here is that photo below. It’s in here. Snap snap.

This blog is a place I can share my favorites and not have to think about social media responses or lack thereof or having to feel like I need to explain, “I took this just for fun!” Not all photos I take are artistic. And not all I take are just for memories. I shoot a lot with mixed intentions, because as a mother and photographer at the same time, I’m always wearing both hats. Part of it’s necessity: shooting for me is mental stimulation in the monotony of bedtimes, lunch packing, and episodes of Peppa Pig. It’s a way I can illustrate the sadness or sarcasm I observe sometimes without turning people off. That’s the mother-who-is-also-a-photographer me.

There’s also the photographer-who-is-also-a-mother, who shot on film years before kids, who flew a Cessna across the desert, who SCUBA dived, who climbed rock spires barefoot, who drove off into the wilderness alone in a Jeep, with nothing but cash, water, and a cooler of film.

You know me, the one who always loved rollercoasters, more than full circles.