Through The Lens Thursday #31: Looking Up

Through The Lens Thursday is a one-year photography project, where every week, my project partner, Greta of GFunkified and I, will post a picture (or pictures) we have taken based on a prompt. Our hope is that together, we can teach and learn from each other, stay accountable to our goal of improving our skills, and hopefully, be taking some gorgeous photographs. 

A photography project

This week’s prompt is ‘Looking Up’.

Looking up - rocket light

I am lying down on my oldest son’s bed. I know, through the video camera in the boys’ room, that some nights, he stays awake for a while before falling asleep later than I’d like.

I wonder what he’s thinking. He looks right at the camera sometimes, like he knows I’m watching him. He picks up his stuffed tiger, who’s been with him for four years, and talks to him. He waves him around by his tail, and I think to myself, gosh I hope he doesn’t wake his little brother up.

He doesn’t.

He stays there, looking up occasionally. As I’m lying down on his bed, I look up and see what he sees. The rocket lamp that I so carefully chose when we first moved in. I wanted something cute, boyish and memorable. I love the rocket lamps (there are two). I wonder if he likes them as much as I do. Does he imagine flying up and away into the sky? Does he wonder why the bulb is so damn big? Wait, can he even see the lamp in the dark?


When you have a child with a speech delay, you wonder a lot about what he thinks. I like to think I know my son quite well, without words. I understand his expressions, I know his moods. I know what he likes and doesn’t like. I know how he expresses his love and affection. Even without long conversations, I know his heart.

But I wonder. Will he understand his mother’s whimsical lamp choice in his room? Will he one day tell me he wants regular lamps because he’s a ‘big boy’? Or will he ride that wondrous train of imagination with me?  

(What do you think of this ‘looking up’ photo? This is a photography exercise, so any critique is appreciated and welcomed!)

Next week’s prompt: Love

For the full list of prompts, check out my Through The Lens Thursday page. If you’d like to join Greta and I, but not necessarily blog your picture, join our Flickr group, where we upload our photos, and give comments, or helpful critique on each other’s photographs.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • July 31, 2014 My Inner Chick

    —Alison Lee,
    One day your son will say this about that whimsical lamp: “My mom was so freaking cool…even back then!”
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Encounter With A Mythical GodMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Ooh, I hope so!!

  • July 31, 2014 Janine Huldie

    I never actually have thought about what my girls are thinking when they are drifting off to sleep, as my younger will tell me that she is going to be afraid of the dark at least once or twice a night before she actually falls off and my older once her head hits the pillow for the most part she is out, but this truly got me thinking and will definitely be mulling this over now for my own girls. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…Mommy Summer Camp to the Rescue (Book Review)My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I guess wondering what my kid thinks comes with the territory when one has a child who has a speech delay. So much of what happens in his head stays there, y’know?

  • July 31, 2014 Julia

    I like the picture, it’s an interesting perspective and goes so well with what you’ve written.
    Julia recently wrote…It’s RealMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Julia!

  • July 31, 2014 Kerstin

    I love that lamp! I used to have a lamp that looked like a plane (like the type the Amelia Earhart flew) in my room. Until I was 19…
    Kerstin recently wrote…Experience2014 – July Round-UpMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      That is SO cool! I’ve always wanted a cool lamp of my own.

  • July 31, 2014 Greta

    I’ve often wondered things like that, or what they dream about. I love the color and composition in this photo!
    Greta recently wrote…Through the Lens Thursday: Looking UpMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thanks, Greta! I wonder all the time with my first, because he doesn’t have the words for it, yet.

  • July 31, 2014 Rebecca

    I love the rocket lamp…I imagine he does too. You have a video camera in your sons’ room?! I want cameras in Dylan’s room…I always wonder what he does in there when no one’s watching. Yesterday night I put him to bed and I as I walked through the hallway I heard a huge fit of laughter from him. What in the world was so funny?!
    Rebecca recently wrote…Can Coffee Stunt My Son’s Growth?My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Yes, we have a camera in the boys’ room! We’ve had once since the oldest turned 18 months and we moved him to his own room. Just to keep an eye out, y’know? You should totally install one in Dylan’s room!

  • July 31, 2014 Tove M Stakkestad

    “I know his heart” – those words just sent me over the edge. Maybe I am emotional, maybe your words were just perfect for the moment – but that’s how i feel about my boys at any age – I know their heart!
    I love the rocket lamp – and I have done the same thing – crawled into my kid’s bottom bunk and looked around – wondering what he felt like in his own little cave down there. I love your picture and I love the lamp… may have to get one for myself!

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I think I was pretty emotional, writing this! Do it, get a whimsical lamp!

  • August 1, 2014 Kir

    I love that lamp, but beyond that..beyond this gorgeous picture are your words and they are so heartfelt and good.

    I watch both of my boys when they are deep in thought and wonder what they are cooking up, what amuses or scares them, what lights them up.
    Kir recently wrote…Just Write: FreaksMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Aren’t they just absolutely fascinating, these children of ours?

  • August 1, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    Very cool lamp – I’m sure he loves them just as much ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great one Alison! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…GTFO: The Uncomfortable Uncanny ValleyMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I wasn’t sure before, but I know he does now!

  • August 1, 2014 julie gardner

    I’m going to skip the photo critique (since I have no skill at all) and simply say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing “lying” instead of “laying.” Twice.


    Thank you.

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Oh my goodness, thank god I got that right!

  • August 1, 2014 Jin Ai

    Such a cool lamp – not just any sort of lamp either. I love the strong colour, the design and all your heart in it!
    Jin Ai recently wrote…DelightMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Jin Ai!

  • August 1, 2014 Rorybore

    this is so fantastic!! that you took a look at the world through your son’s eye — and captured it in so interesting a way. it’s framed perfectly and the lighting is great. Well done!!
    Rorybore recently wrote…I’ve Been Framed!My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you! I was particularly inspired by the lamp.

  • August 1, 2014 Shell

    I wonder what mine think, too. Because I know they don’t tell me everything.
    Shell recently wrote…Baseball Fans: Which One Are You?My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      And as they get older, they’ll tell us even less. Sigh.

  • August 1, 2014 Tamara

    All I can think is that I want that lamp too!!
    Beautiful writing and photo.
    Tamara recently wrote…Almost Completely Wordless Wednesday: Zoo Oddities.My Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Tamara!

  • August 1, 2014 Christine

    I love the lamp too. I often wonder what they are thinking about but more often too, I wonder what they will remember or what they will remember of this moment, this time, this place.
    Christine recently wrote…SF 1st Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      If only they could blog at this age, right?

  • August 1, 2014 Jennifer

    I be he is daydreaming about all the wonderful places he and his tiger will go.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Minecraft ConversationsMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      Aw, I love that!

  • August 2, 2014 Elaine A.

    I adore what this photo made you reflect upon. That’s the beauty of photography to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I love that about photography too – all the twists and turns of storytelling it takes us to.

  • August 4, 2014 Kimberly

    I’ve often wondered what they’re thinking and how they view things. I wish there was a way to know for sure how they saw things.

    I like that this picture has a story behind it, leaving the viewer to determine what they see, just as you wrote about your children.

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      We need mind reading superpowers!

  • August 13, 2014 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    The pop of red on the lamp is striking. The words that came to mind when I studied this cool fixture: whimsy, flight and adventure.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…Another Beginning Becomes Another LastMy Profile

    • August 18, 2014 Alison

      I think those words too!

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