Today I posted this on my Facebook page, saying I used to take pictures of the kids, but now I take pictures of their pictures. It’s all true but it gives me just as much joy, only in a different way. This way I get to smile everytime I walk through the kitchen, and usually keep more current photos on the front, but these .. well, I love them so much. I suppose they will always be posted on one bulletin board or another in my life.
In my office I have a small collage frame with eight photos in it of my own two children, all taken during the year their AF father was overseas – our son, Phil,was four and our daughter, Allison, just a baby at the beginning of this long, long year in our lives. This collage speeds up to where Phil was five and a half and Allison was eighteen months. I’ve always said that when I go to the nursing home this photo frame will be the one I take.
One of the first photos was taken the day Allison came home from the hospital, with Phil standing beside me and our new little pink bundle resting in my arms. The rest of the photos were of our year alone, including the Christmas Eve picture I took the night Allison took her first steps. In the picture big brother, Phil, had his arm around her shoulders.
What the pictures never show, of course, is what leads up to the pictures or what happened afterwards. I can tell you with the Christmas Eve photo that shortly after the picture was taken, the kids had baths and went to bed, and the dog, Heidi, managed to pull over the Christmas tree I’d lugged home the week before and somehow wrestled it into the tree stand just so the kids would have a Christmas tree with their dad gone. But with the huge, noisy crash, ornaments breaking all over the living room carpet, I’d had enough of the being-alone-at-Christmas experience. I yanked off the ornaments, took down the tree, which was even more trouble that setting it up, and hauled it outside to the vacant lot next to our house. Then spent a long time vacuuming up the mess on the living room carpet.
But Christmas morning, nobody seemd to notice. We’d survived our Christmas alone, the kids were thrilled with their toys, we had Christmas dinner with my family at my Grandmother’s house, and Allison toddled around under her own speed. As for me, I was glad that Christmas had come and gone, although it had gone at our house with a crash.
Each of these photos tells me a story, and I love to remember them all ~the Easter photo, the first time Allison slept in a big girl’s bed, with Phil and Mom letting her snuggle n Phil’s bed so she’d understand that her brother slept in a big boy’s bed and now she could sleep in a big girl’s bed, and she did, with no problems at all. This, of course, meant taking down the crib in the nursery far earlier than I’d ever anticipated, because our future aerial trapeze artise daughter loved to hook her foot over the top of the crib railing and climb out, all on her own. Who could imagine that?
Other pictures are of that Halloween, with Phil a skeleton in a black hat and Allison as a little blue bunny, with Phil holding his little sister’s hand and each child holding their plastic pumpkin baskets. I once saw a movie with Burt Reynolds, and wish I could remember the name of it, but it was years after I took all these pictures. He took his girl friend to meet his parents, and just after he rang the doorbell he said to the young woman with him, “Get ready. Smile.” The door opens and his mom is there with her camera, complete with an old-fashioned flash bulb which goes off in their faces as she snaps their picture. Made me laugh, but then I realized either one of my children could have written that movie script. I’ve tried to be a little less obvious with my picture taking since I saw that movie.
When I see stories on TV of women who have lost their homes to flood, fires or hurricane and tornado devastation, they always cry at the loss of their family photos. It breaks my heart because I understand. For me, though, it’s comforting to understand that a mother’s cherished photos are always engraved on her heart. It’s certainy true for me.