Family Documentary With Grandparents

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Iris Hu

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March 4, 2020

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Last summer, four of us traveled to China and stayed at my parents’ house for a month. It was the first time I went back to China in 10 years, and it was the first time kids ever been to China. For past a few years, my parents tried to visit us once a year, usually spent one or two months with us.

During that time, when I see the way they interacted with V and April, I can’t help but thinking about when I was kid, the way we interacted with each other, it was very different. I grew up in a not so affectionate family. My father has never told me he loves me. He was in the army till I was 9 or 10, before that we only saw each other once a year or every other year. I can’t remember if my mother ever said she loves me verbally, maybe in text once or twice after I came to US.

I’m sure when I was a baby, my mother held me and kissed me, but since I have memories, I don’t remember if we ever hugged and kissed. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t have it, when I take photos as a Portland family photographer, I’m always drawn to those moments where parents showing the physical touching. I have people told me they think my clients are all affectionate families so that my works have so many heart melted moments.

Though I do have so many sweet and loving families to photograph, I really think mostly I am the one really seeking those moments. Back to the story of my parents and my kids. Their bonding with each other is incredible, like in their nature, especially thinking of they don’t speak english very much, so there’s challenge when come to communication. But kids just genuinely love them, so comfortable to be with them. And you know what, my parents hug them, kiss them, and lots of body language to express their love. It is a magic feeling that hard to describe, but I really feel my heart full, to see my kids get double of love, that I might have missed when I was growing up.

1st day arrived home. April got a doll, and V got lego as the welcome presents. My dad helped April with the package, and I just love the way April waiting while looking at him dearly.

My mom gave April a shower and getting ready for nap time. April loves grandma but really likes to act naughty with her. My mom has lots and lots of patience with her of course. I looked at them through my lens, and I thought about a lot honestly.

Doing crafts at my childhood bedroom. They were all so dedicated and in the moment that no one seemed to notice I was there. This is somehow very meaningful to me.

In the kitchen, they just chilled at the breakfast table, had snacks, made funny noise to get grandpa’s attention (by the way, my dad is the one cook in our household:)).

I know these are not special occasions by any means. They are just the most ordinary and everyday moments. But the truth is, these scenes we couldn’t see everyday because simply we don’t live close to each other. To me, to document these moments, mean the world to me.

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  1. Cortney says:

    Thank you for sharing your soul. These are the most beautiful.

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