Past life reflected in his lens

A FEW years ago I would have been the reporter next to the photographer, smiling politely as every mum and her kids lined up to be in the photo – all giggling about their lack of make-up and wondering whether they were worthy of the front page.

Meanwhile photographer would be muttering under his breath about never working with kids and animals and I’d be thinking, there’s too many people for this to run on the front, where would we put our headline?

But last week I was on the flipside of that scenario. Bustling my two children towards the photo shoot, baby wipes in hand and hoping to God they wouldn’t be the ones to hold up the photo shoot with an ill-timed tantrum.

My son took to it with gusto, quickly positioning himself in the photographer’s favoured spot – the cubbyhouse hole – while my daughter took off to sit beside him. Realising I’d be in the photo childless (has anyone else found they feel naked being photographed without a child on their hip never mind they once used to pose cheesily for impromptu photos all the time?), I yanked her back to sit on my lap. Yep, I’m a bonafide mother, here’s the kid to prove it.

It’s no surprise my son was obliging. He’s had a small history as a media tart – photographed as part of my PR role for a toy library and, when he was born prematurely and spent some weeks in the special care nursery, witness to the insane media entourage that followed then-Opposition leader and PM candidate Kevin Rudd into our ward.

Put your boobs away, ladies, the future Prime Minister is coming in!

But it was a little surreal to watch what would have been my job from the other side of the lens. A little part of me pined, as it always does when I want to dip  my toes in the reporting pool again (which lasts about two weeks before I realise how many crazies you have to talk to every day).

I’ve always enjoyed the enthusiasm that people generally possess when it comes to media coverage. I loved being a part of that process, letting people know when they could expect their 15 minutes of fame. And now, while I’ve started back at work, I’m much more behind-the-scenes and not privy to those excited smiles.

Speaking of my return to work, it’s gone quite smoothly. I spent more energy worrying about my return, than I did actually getting back into the swing of things. And even more amazingly, my fingers still seemed to find those shortcut keys before the cognitive wheels turned.

I was quite chuffed to hear positive feedback too. Long-lost colleagues welcoming me back into the fray – and one singing my praises (which may have set the bar a little above my current reach!). Though much of the “good work” pats came from my best friend, who undoubtedly knew I was sitting here chewing my nails, vexed that I was screwing it up, holding up the presses, etc.

Still, she’s not the kind to dish out undeserved compliments. I ought to know, she also used to forehead flick me when I got it wrong!

So, I’ve gone back to work (from my dining room), have moved house and started a third novel (no, the second one isn’t finished) in the space of two weeks. Not bad going with a teething, 10-kilo baby clinging to my side and a small boy screaming at me from somewhere inside this massive house.

“Don’t worry honey, I’ll find you before Santa gets here.”


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