A Letter from the Author
You've been there: posing as still as Mona Lisa, quietly hoping you look as nonchalant-yet-angular as possible. And after the photographer clicks, the viewfinder is quickly presented so that you can either approve of the result (because, let's face it: you'll look amazing
once it's blessed with the almighty Facebook tag), or you simply trash it and try again until you appear as tabloid-ready as one of the Real Housewives rocking the step-and-repeat at a launch party for an energy drink.
These are times in which we live: we photograph--and are
photographed--with clear intention. We want to look our best, which no longer means just looking good. We want to embody a look
, be it Sexy or Cute or Silly or The Life of the Party or The Stoic, Masculine He-Thing or The Quirky (Yet Stunning) Wallflower. Chances are, if you're under 40, you no longer simply hope for the best when a picture is taken (in the chance that you'll even see
the photo after it's developed, anyway). Anyone with a smartphone or Facebook page or Twitter handle is now a celebrity in their own right, because we each attempt to be photographed as if it's the last time anyone will ever see us, and we'd better look good
. And it's not because we fear the Apocalypse, per se--we just want to make sure our track record is, if nothing else, handsome.
The stories in My Parents Were Awesome
are varied--from sexy to adorable, romantic to bittersweet, each one carrying with it its own flavor, reminding us that we all come from two individuals whose lives may have changed when we arrived, although their history did not. There's the fiancée who abandoned her buttoned-up hubby-to-be for a younger Vietnam vet after he survived a sniper attack with a bludgeoned face and loss of eyesight. There's the daughter who, before too late, realized that she had to follow in the footsteps of her “disobedient” father, whose nomadic wanderlust and passion for constant change of scenery and way of life was the only way she could live, too. And there's the valiant mom who, in fighting a losing battle with cancer, prepared her daughter for her absence with sticky notes strewn all over the house, directing her on how to fix the dishwasher, the right way to apply make-up, and the simple reminder that she'd always be in her heart.
So where will this leave us in line with the next generation? Instead of flipping through musty photo albums where the visual memorabilia comes from candid moments, our children are bound to quickly click through photos in a cyber cloud, where there will barely be room to study--if even pay attention to--pictures of Mom and Dad in their heyday. What will be lost on our children, sadly, is nuance.
Granted, these kids will have been raised in an age where they were born into a cultural den of self-importance, where a profile picture designated sexuality, popularity, and the bizarre connotation of balancing a social ladder that teeters between real-life interaction and the glow of a screen.
Suffice it to say, nostalgia will be a different animal twenty years from now. It won't suddenly disappear or become irrelevant, as children all--at one point or another--realize that their parents did stuff
before they became solely responsible for keeping a little human alive like it were the ultimate Home Ec. assignment. But even from watching TV shows like Teen Mom
, it's understood that the next generation of tech-friendly digerati will have to take a vested interest in waxing nostalgic, and by choice, no less.
Sure, it may seem initially depressing to acknowledge that our kids will look back to see photographs that were likely crafted and perfected to present specific “identities” before being glued down tight (or uploaded for eternity). But, on the other hand, imagine how much deeper and thorough conversations will run when Mom or Dad are required to own up to their youthful ignorance. Vanity may run more rampant than ever before, but it could very well be at the center of what will be an important cross-generational conversation down the line. A Look Inside My Parents Were Awesome
Tony and Leeka
Terry and Kathy
Ellie and Sal
Michael and Diane
Patricia and Jerry
Steve and Teena
Corinne and Don
Sam and Harriet