Comfort Objects

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"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

A comfort object is a toy or blanket that takes on emotional importance to a child. A physical link to a child's emotional and psychological world, often bearing the stains and scars of tears and play. While I did not have a comfort object as a child, my three children have each had one. Like many parents, I've hunted for it at bedtime, sent it along when leaving a child in another person's care, and carefully packed it on trips. It is a conduit for meeting their emotional and psychological needs.

In developmental psychology comfort objects are called "transitional objects" and act as a substitute for the mother-child bond, helping the child navigate separation by providing a stand-in. I am fascinated by this link to parenting, and to motherhood in particular. The mother is where so many physical, emotional and psychological needs are met and focused.

The children in my series include my own and those of friends and strangers. The objects are a thread of continuity running through the images, and a means for the children to reveal elements of their emotional lives. Most profoundly for me though, they are a vehicle for pondering childhood and reflecting on my feelings about parenting.