The Mom Photo Essay Project On Instagram: Eleven

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November, 2010. One year after her (aortic) heart valve replacement surgery. Every year, the Catholic church she attends has a Veteran's Day mass, and my mom breaks out her dress blues. Her time in the Women's Army Corps (during WWII), and her years as a reservist in the #Army, are, I think, the most defining times of her life. I think she sees herself as an Army Major who went into teaching, rather than a teacher who served in the Army. When she talks of teaching, it is to tell stories of various students, incidents, coworkers, but there's not much change in her when she's talking about the classroom. However, when she talks about the Army, she sits up straighter, her eyes glow, and the sense of pride is palpable. My mother has become slightly stooped with age (arthritis), but when she puts on the uniform you can see it: tall, upright, proud, determined. It's not a performance by any means – it is all real, but the transformation is what I imagine an actor feels and does when about to walk out on stage as a powerful character: Hamlet, Macbeth, Mama Rose. This photo is bittersweet. It captures the memories of the proud, active young woman who joined the military during wartime, to do what she could to help her country; and it captures the woman she's become: older, smaller, less active and vital. Yet, I suppose any photo is like that, capturing who we have been, who we are now – and a reminder that the one moment in time captured in the photo is always a moment that has past. We only catch glimpses of the future in photos. #elderlyparent #aging #caregiver

A post shared by John Francis Nooney (@john_francis_nooney) on

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