“She was a brat when she was seven. That was the only year we didn’t get along.”
“What’s your secret to getting along?”
“To yell at each other when you need to and not hold it back.”
“There is something else. She had leukemia when she was 10, and she was in the hospital for nine months. Her father and I would switch every 24 hours, so somebody would stay with her. And so when you are trapped with your child for so long, nobody does her normal escape route and leaves the room. Nobody can say, ‘I don’t want to talk right now.’ You are really there and you know what matters. That was pretty important, I think, for where we are now. It also confirmed who I am as a mom.”
“In what way?”
“In terms of just being present and having trust. Because so many times as a parent, you doubt whether you are doing the right thing with your kids.
Sometimes I would see her walking towards me, especially when she started to sprout up and get really tall, and she would be too far for me to realize it’s my daughter, and I would think, what a beautiful, young, confident woman! It’s that kind of confirmation. I feel good about sending her out in the world. I’ve done OK. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody passes on their bad traits to some extent, but I’ve done a good job. I also have a 13-year-old, and I try to relate to them each as individuals and meet them on their terms. They are different people with different needs. I think on the spectrum of adult-directed or child-led, I’m more on the child-led side. Children are not like this clay that you are supposed to mold. They are perfect when they are born. They just need love and support.”
Portraits of Boston is a project of independent photographer Ivan Velinov. He is regularly sharing some of his favorite portraits with WBUR. Visit his website to see the hundreds of portraits he has taken on the streets of Boston.