I hadn't thought twice about the photography session until years after my mom died. I went to the photo shop to have some pictures developed (remember when you used to have to do that all the time?). The shop owners had found the developed photos from that test shoot and were hoping to give them to me when they saw me next.
Inside the envelope were a dozen unexpected treasures. If you look at our family photo albums you can see when my mom got her Pentax K1000: the photos go from family outings and special occasions to hundreds of photos of flowers and sunsets and the occasional family photo. After mom died, I searched for photos of the two of us (versus group photos), and there just weren't any.
I'm so thankful to have a photo like this to be among my last with my mother. Despite all the angst (oh my goodness, so much pubescent angst) and arguments, the frustration and fights, I have these photos that remind me of the love we had for each other (and the love my mom had of coffee).
This last photo of my mom looking at me really just gets to me. In all the other photos, she's looking at the camera or making funny faces (talking?), but in this one she looks at me so lovingly and I'm so completely unaware of it. Sometimes I close my eyes and insert myself at different stages of my life -- such as graduations, or a future wedding, etc. -- and I imagine this is how my mom would look at me. It makes me sad that I didn't and won't have that chance, but also so thankful that for the moments I did have a mother that loved and adored me. It's more than many kids get.