A sense of place and belonging | Artefact Motherhood | Cambridge Documentary Family Photographer
Welcome to Artefact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artefacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come.
Growing up I always wondered what it would feel like to live somewhere in the countryside. It might seem rather fanciful and out of the blue considering that for the early years of my life I lived in the densely populated Kowloon district of Hong Kong, which at the time was still a country in its own entity and a part of the British Colony.
I can remember when my dad got a job opportunity in London and my family relocated with him. We stayed for a short time in this hotel around the corner from Hyde Park. I could vividly recall being taken to Kensington Gardens and playing in the playground. It was winter as well so there were barely any leaves on the trees, yet I was immediately hit with the sense of space and freedom. I was five years old at the time.
As a child, I was very curious and prone to daydreaming. A habit I know your grandparents worried about since one of my form teachers pointed out to them how Diana was always gazing out of the window. Yes, I did a lot of that. I would watch a flock of geese fly pass in unison and I would wonder at their destination.
Up there in that lofty sky, open grounds and natural play areas, where we would go and play in the school grounds, I would let my imagination run wild and curiosity be satisfied. My school friends and I would set up little stations amongst the hedgerows and fill our pinafore dresses with grass and flowers we had picked to create flower crowns.
It sounds very idyllic and it was in many ways. It was here amongst the hedges and fields I found a sense of place, belonging and purpose.
Recently, I walked past our local bookshop and spotted a book in the window: Tell Me A Story by Madeline Pizzuti. It’s a collection of stories drawn from the author’s own memories of her idyllic childhood spent in the Fens. It’s not too far from where we live. We've driven through this place many a times on our way to the beaches in Norfolk. It’s also where we have visited Welney Wetland Centre and other Fenland nature reserves in the area, such as Woodwalton Fen (shown in the pictures below). With your newfound confidence and love of reading I thought you would enjoy reading the short stories at bedtime together. Her stories might even inspire the two of you on your own summer adventures.
Sometimes I worry if I am moulding too much of your childhood to be like the one I had. But there’s no harm in instilling a love of nature. You are both learning about how important and beautiful the environment is and what we need to do to protect it. My hope is that one day you may draw upon these ordinary summer days spent hunting for bugs, chasing each other down the open rides, and discover your sense of place, belonging, and purpose.
Please go to April Christopher the next artist in our Artefact Motherhood blog circle and continue through all the artists until you get back to me! To learn more about Artefact Motherhood, click here.