12 Emotions | Feeling Nostalgic | 1 of 12 / by Carey

A new year brings new creative challenges.  I love the opportunity to continue to change and grow.  My first Challenge for this year is called the 12 Emotions.  I was invited to participate in this group that uses black and white imagery to convey different emotions.  Our group will post our images on the 12th of each month and create a circle of different interpretations of various emotions.  I'm excited to explore black and white further - I love color and always seem to defer to it.  And while I don't love trying to create an image to fit to a certain theme, I am looking forward to exploring the feeling side of this:  the emotions.  Trying to submit and relish in the emotions within myself as I lean more and more into my own femininity, I think this is a perfect challenge for me for 2013.  This month's prompt is Feeling Nostalgic.

Here is my official image:

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While I am not a very sentimental person (much to my grandmother and sister's distress), I do on occasion enjoy a little bit of nostalgia.

Nostalgia:  a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

I didn't grow up in a happy home.  There are good memories, certainly, but it isn't a time I yearn to return to.  My home and my memories of those family dynamics aren't ones I care to revisit.  This past Christmas time, I was struck for the first time by the disparity, holiday-wise, of my childhood home and my home now.  As I was decorating with our collection of Christmas paraphenlia, I realized I have no memory of Christmas decorations growing up.  Of course we had a Christmas Tree.  I remember gaudy foil tinsel strands, and styrofoam ball ornaments wrapped in shiny fibers (that we pulled apart fiber by fiber), and making a new star for the top of the tree each year from cardboard and tin foil.  As we destroyed ornaments, they weren't replaced.  Over the years the tree became barer and barer.

That is my memory of Christmas:  Absence.   No Santa figurines.  No Nativity set.  No holly or mistletoe.  No wreaths.  No red bows. No Christmas cookies.  No Santa hats.  No candles.  No holiday music.  The stockings disappeared - I don't remember even having one (even though they had been hand knitted by my great grandmother and I've seen photos of them).  No Advent Calendar.  No nutcrackers.  No poinsettias.  No annual ornament chosen just for me.  No gingerbread houses. No reindeer or elves.  No hot cocoa with candy canes.  No snow globes.  No red and green hand towels.  No whole family snuggles to watch favorite Christmas movies.  No Christmas cards.  No special Christmas pajamas.  No special Christmas breakfast.  In fact, I don't recall even having a meal at my home for Christmas.  No reading of the Christmas story.  No Christmas Eve service.

As a mom, I put an extraordinary amount of effort into traditions and holidays in our family now.  I know it was the lack of things like this that drives me to create over-the-top magic and wonder for my kids surrounding birthdays, holidays, and things like the Tooth Fairy.  They get to be this age just once, and I want them to remember these times with such overwhelming fondness.  I want that so much I cannot even put the strength of the desire into words.  Shawn indulges me.  I know he wants holidays to be special for them, yet he probably feels I go a little bit over the top.  Still, he hugs me and helps me get through the times when I bite off more than I can chew.  When I'm exhausted because there just isn't enough time to execute all my ideas.  I'm thankful for that.  But I suppose on some level, I equate the effort executed for these things with love.  I am expressing my love for them by putting forth the tremendous effort to make it amazing.

We visited my mother in her home at Christmastime this year.  It is not the home I grew up in. She now lavishes us at Christmas.  I know she is trying to make up for the times when there was no money.  But I could not have been more surprised than when I opened one silver-wrapped gift box; a gift from her to me.  In that moment, the morning a month earlier when I had dwelled on how we'd had nothing at Christmas to make our house special when I was young came zapping forefront to my mind.  For she had packed for me something that I had completely forgotten.  Buried deep, deep inside the recesses of my memory.  Inside that silver box was a ceramic gingerbread shaped house.  The roof is white, as if it has been snowed on.    The sign above the door says "Santa's Sweet Shop".  There are holes evenly spaced along the roof.  Those holes are for lollipops.

I remember.

Feeling Nostalgic by Carey Pace

I remember that house.  I remember placing and arranging the lollipops in it, over and over and over.  Seeing that house brings back that time in my childhood.  And it feels happy.  And that surprises me.

As I pondered what to shoot for the prompt of "feeling nostalgic", the feelings I experienced when I opened and peered at this Christmas decoration flooded me.  I couldn't shake it and knew this is what I had to document.  For there is no other way to describe how I feel about this little ceramic Santa house than to say I feel so very nostalgic about it.

Feeling Nostalgic by Carey Pace

Even though I don't remember happy things about my childhood, doesn't mean they didn't exist.  What a good reminder that little house will be.  I am looking forward to next Christmas, when I will set that house out among all of my decorations that I've collected as an adult.  A tiny piece of me and my history will stand among that, and my own children will use it, and it will make me happy.

The next photographer in our circle is Debbie Wibowo.  Please take a moment to view her interpretation.  Debbie Wibowo with D-Light Photography.

I shot these with my D90 Nikon 85mm f1.8