When I was young, my mother came out of the closet.
And went back in. And came back out. And went back in.
The broom closet was where she developed film. Scrunched next to the varnish and car wax and insect repellent, she worked in pitch blackness, cracking open roll after roll and transferring its contents to a reel inside a small metal tank.
Photo negatives hung from a clothesline in the basement, and our bathroom was a makeshift dark room, where harsh chemicals turned light-sensitive paper into images.
Mom was a career educator and self-taught photographer who lived by the mantra "a job worth doing is worth doing well."
As yearbook and newspaper adviser for the high school where she taught, she brought journalism into the lives of hundreds of students, annually winning for her school the highest awards for scholastic newspapers and yearbooks.
She is why I do what I do — to make her proud.