I'm guessing that when I die, my children won't know what their mother looked like. In fact, they may wonder if I attended graduations, plays, or even family trips. You see, I never make it into the pictures. I have no evidence to show that I was a part of this family because I'm cut off, cut out, or simply not photographed.
I'm always trying to smash my daughter's faces next to mine so I know that least my nose will make it into the picture. I have a home video with Parker playing underneath a toy and I actually maneuvered my body underneath it next to her body so there could be footage of me next to her. My husband actually moved the camera off my face and focused the video camera onto plain carpet instead of me.
What the fuck?
There was also the time when she was in her Bjorn, attached to my body, and he still cut out my head. Our Disney cruise pictures from 2003 are filled with slices of me...a nose, a ponytail, an arm. I'm like a distorted mannequin that came along for the fucking ride.
Does he not see me smiling and posing through the goddamn lens of the camera? I am a human being trying to capture a moment in time so when I'm 98, I have proof that I haven't always been a decaying bag of bones. I need to remember that indeed I had white teeth and bright eyes. I had energy and strength. I was a mother that played with her children.
But when I'm 98, I'm going to look at pictures that may or may not resemble my eyelid, nose, hand or collarbone. I'm sure it will be confusing to go through old family albums while I sit in the nursing home wondering, "Who the fuck is that? The nanny? Did we even have a nanny?"
We sat down and talked about this, my husband and me, because I couldn't take it anymore. I don't need a sigh of grief when I ask him to snap a shot of me with the girls and I'd really appreciate it if he could possibly get my head in the fucking picture.
He didn't understand this. "I don't get it. Why do you need the picture? You're there. Why do you need a picture to remember the day?"
Okay, so there it was. He thought I was being an egotistical snob that loves looking at myself. It was time to set him straight. I went into my exhausting tirade about how, as a mother, I need to remember how it felt to hold their little bodies next to mine. I need to see the glow on my face when I smelled the jelly on their lips. It goes by so fast! I need to document as much of it as possible so I can remember it. It's how I'm wired.
It's not about having a picture of me. It's about seeing me with my kids and remembering the day and what we said and how her little 5 year old laugh sounded when I laughed with her.
I need to remember that I was there and I was a great mom that loved being a part of their lives as long as they allowed me in it. Lately, I find myself grabbing as much as I can before the precocious teenage years when they don't need my hugs, kisses and attention. It's not about the picture, it's about the experience.
I think he gets it. We went on a Disney Cruise a couple years later and every picture had me standing loud and proud with our kids. Sometimes I still get the sigh of grief when I ask him to take a picture, but that's when I remind him that I love him for doing it.
I didn't marry a photographer, I married a man who loves an experience and doesn't like that experience to be interrupted by finding a camera. However, I do. I like having proof that I was here on this earth with my family. I existed. I loved. I laughed. I will see these pictures when I'm 98 and allow myself to sink back into the memory more clearly.
Thank you honey for having the patience to give me the gift of remembering. When I'm old and struggling to remember our family when we were young, I'll have pictures to ignite my memory. It's priceless.