I See You | Where The Boys Are, A Memory Keeping Revolution

Why do we do this? Why do we come together in this space twice a month together? I can attest that we are all busy, and by saying yes to this project, we only added to an already teetering pile of responsibilities. So, why? Why, despite the craziness of life, do we carve out time? Why does it matter?

I used to think that we come together to inspire each other. That we come together because we are like minded, and being at different stages with our boys, we each have something to learn from one other. I thought that maybe sharing these lessons, sharing this voice with you would add gratitude to your life for your boys and all the nuances that make your life uniquely yours. Yes, all that but....

I was wrong. 

As I pulled together this post and saw the words come together it became clear. Why do we do this? Why does it matter? We do it for them. It matters because they do. 

This is our opportunity in the truest of forms, photographs+words, to stop and say to our boys once a month "I see you". In the craziness of life, good days and bad, I still see you

We would love to see why it matters to you, who you see, in our Flickr group and under the hashtag #wheretheboysareproject on Instagram. Make sure you visit our Facebook page to see some of the fantastic images we've shared so far from our Flickr page.  

We receive a lot of questions on how to contribute and Flickr is by far the best way to share with this group. In only two months we've had almost 500 images shared in our group and there is some beautiful work there. Thank you to those of you who are sharing your life with us. 

Another question we get a lot is whether or not we will be hosting themes and contests. Simply, this is not our intent. However, I would love to point you to Boys Will Be Boys, a community on Facebook doing just that. 

It's wonderful that our photographs+words are being shared in this space but I want them to be shared with the people who matter most. My roots are in memory keeping and I feel like there needs to be more. 

How often do we share online for our children to never see the lens through which we see them? How often do we share online for our children to never read the words that are meant for them? When Amy & I began this project we wanted it to be more than photographs. Now that we are settled in we will be layering in more of that and I'm thrilled to say we have two memory keeping projects in this week's post. Also, stay tuned for my plan on how to take my boys off the screen and put their stories into their hands.

Welcome to the second installment of our September collaborative share where we invite Donya Luana to join us in telling our story. We hope that sharing our story inspires you to share yours. 

Here we go......

This is you, painted by your own hand. Your interest in art has escalated this year, but for some reason this self portrait surprised me. It was a glimpse into your potential and your passion, and I can’t wait to see more. - Lisa Truesdell

One frame. If I only had one frame to freeze this would be it because everyone who holds my heart is here, in their element, in this moment, that will not repeat itself yet is so much of our ordinary everyday. We do a lot of go, go, go on the weekends and as I was running through the house packing bags and loading the car before we went our separate ways for the day I saw three little heads all in a row - one more veg before a day of busy. As usual I opted for running late in order to document this slice of our history - Owen's galloping shoes and soccer team shirt from the summer on his way to Fall soccer practice. Garrett checking in on his clan, hair unbrushed, socks un-matching. Travis intently watching Paw Patrol wearing his outside shoes because he's outgrown every other pair unaware that one of our errands today is shoe shopping for him. And even my husband, in the background, waiting to start the day. These are the details that I will forget but the photographs will help me recall. 

Camping days, spent doing one of your favorite things... riding your bike.  When you were young you told me, "Mommy, I can't ride, it hurts my legs."  And your bike sat, unused, for a couple of summers.  The day you jumped on it and rode around while exclaiming, "I'm doing it!" was one of those moments I'll never forget.  I hope you always remember what a gift it is to walk, run, and to ride. - Abbi Ottman

Was a good summer!

I love this picture of you two because I'm sure that this same ride in next year’s county fair will not be one of your favorites to enjoy together, I’m sure there will be other rides that you will enjoy and I'll be there with you.

My boys

Brothers and

Friends, growing together with me.

- Antonieta Esis 

You were a motorbike rider riding the jumps, an astronaut walking the moon, a fisherman catching some fish, an explorer exploring a new land.  Let your imagination lead the way, and you can be whoever you want to be. - Amy Lancaster

In a bittersweet poem, cicadas narrate the end of summer through wide open windows. We do not need to glance at a calendar to know we’re just a couple sleeps  away from counting down until next summer. And so we will eke out every drop of daylight and chase every remaining firefly and count every star in the warm night sky.  I’ll let my busyness wait a couple more days and we’ll picnic under the evergreens together. - Jen Lucas

You are stronger than many believe, little one. A deep thinker, highly engaging and creative. This is your moment. A giant wave of change. Here you are standing proudly and ready on the eve of  Kindergarten. I am a bit teary eyed, but it's because I am full of pride and the promise of all the things you will do with all of your your amazing gifts. - Cate Wnek

As much as I love the candid in-action style shots that show our true everyday life... I also REALLY LOVE the staged portrait-style shots of my boys that depict their current interests and obsessions.  My youngest is in a full-on superhero stage right now, and we marched on out into the backyard one afternoon (complete in his favorite Capt. America tee, mask, and personalized cape) to snap a few superhero shots.  I'm so glad we did - this will make a great canvas for his bedroom! - Susan Weinroth


You started kindergarten this month.  I’m not sure how that happened or where the summer went.   We soaked up summer until the very last minute, even hitting up the splash park the evening before your big day.  I was hesitant about having such a big adventure the evening before, but I’m so glad we did.  You loved every minute, and I spent every minute trying to take it all in and figure out how my little baby got to be a big kindergartener - Heather Reagan

These every day moments are the ones that are most special to me.  The face you made as you stuffed McDonalds pancakes into your mouth.  Your enthusiastic wave as you closed the door on your *own* special cubby.  I'm amazed every day at the tiniest stories I witness and I hope someday they're just as special to you.  - Donya Luana

I love that you call it hua-looping. And that you refused to give up until you learned how to hua-loop. - Amanda Caves

Being the youngest of three boys is hard.  You have to talk a little louder, run a little faster and put up with more than your fair share of rough and tumble.  Sometimes you get frustrated and retreat the quiet places of the house.  The brothers you love and love to hate are making you better and stronger.  You're well on your way to meaningful manhood.  I love you, my littlest one. - Michelle L. Morris