Mario and Rosa, 2001
Mario and Rosa, 2001. From the series Primo Amore.
Since I started instagram years ago, I have become grateful for this space to share my work and now consider this a part of my creative process. I also consider myself fortunate that I have many engaged followers like you. But I began to notice that with just about every post here on the Instagram, I lose a follower or two. And because I am human, I do sometimes wonder did they not like a picture? Was it something I said? And then by forces beyond my imagination I get a whole batch of new followers. So in this very small place in the universe, which is my feed, people are coming and going like a bar or a train station. And among those people are you, dear reader. Tried and true.
This reminds me of a story. When my oldest daughter was 6 months old we took one of our trips to Italy. The plane was at something like 40,000 feet in the pitch dark of night, after the crew had turned off the lights and it seemed that every passenger was sleeping. My daughter began to cry. It was a very normal cry. A cry you and I have heard on just about every flight we have ever been on. A cry that would easily be soothed at home, but I was a new dad and I was surrounded by 300 slumbering strangers. I was working all of my best soothing techniques but none of them were working. Back in the galley I made eye contact with one of the flight attendants on his break. Perhaps I was bouncing her a little too frantically or maybe it was my nervous smile, because he smiled back at me and said, “It’s ok, let her cry, you’re never going to see any of these people again.”
Years later, I think back to that moment and still consider it some of the best parenting advice I have ever received. The only person whose opinion I really cared about was in my arms. As I write this, I sit here with my wife in row 29 at something like 40,000 feet surrounded by 300 slumbering strangers, now with two daughters asleep on our shoulders, thankful for the wise flight attendant who taught me that life is not about the people that you never see again but the ones you do. Whatever that number, that’s your family.