18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
What does the future hold? A son and his mom.

This photo was taken August 30, 2020. It is a photo of my wife, Bridget, in the arms of our son, EJ (Edward Joseph). We were spending some time at my parent’s house for my mother's 64th birthday (Grandmother of EJ). We have had very little access to go over to my parent’s house during the coronavirus pandemic the past few months, but my mom made an exception for our family to come over to celebrate her birthday. When we went over we all had our mask's on and were socially distancing ourselves from my parents as we spent some time with them that day. In a moment where most of the festivities were done and everyone was just hanging out in the living room, my wife laid herself in my son's arms, to which he embraced her. They had taken their masks off for just a moment, but kept their masks close by in case my parents came near (as indicated with EJ's face mask by his leg). I was sitting on a chair next to the couch when I turned my head to the right and saw the moment unfolding. I took this picture as I thought it was sweet of our son to comfort his mom in a moment of vulnerability. These times are very tough on moms and parents all over the world as they juggle the pandemic, work, and adjust to remote learning for their children. Our kids have stayed home to do remote learning from their school as my wife has had to go back to her school for in-person learning (She works in an elementary school in a different community). Not only does the educational success for our children concern her while they are in school remotely, but she also worries about catching the virus from her own school, that she had to go back to, and bringing COVID 19 home to our family. The weight of a mom and any parent's shoulders are heavy and the added weight of COVID 19, remote learning for our kids, and her going back to work only adds to it for my wife. In this photo, if even for a brief moment, it was my son who absorbed the weight of an uncertain future in the hope that everything would be alright.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2020
Date Uploaded: 09.2020
Photo Location: North Riverside, Illinois, United States of America
Copyright: © Joseph Schicker