July 7, 2015

Photo Finish

My kids weren't like yours.

Mine were the most beautiful little girls ever made.

They had smiles like light bulbs...

 ...and were Olympian in their physical prowess.
They were masters of disguise...

and the Rodins of their time.

Unlike your kids, mine were adorable. Which is probably why, unlike you, my kids' photos have taken over my house. They are to my walls what kudzu is to South Carolina...
And waxy yellow build-up is to tabletops.
Detect a slight change in tone? You betcha. Because here's the truth. My kids were beautiful. I cherished their childhoods, I worship the women they have become.

And I am really sick of having their pictures all around me.

I write about this because I am trying to understand the paradox. I filled my house with their photos while they were filling my life with hot pink tutus and roller blades. I artfully arranged frames of their antics, their smiles, their moods at the very moment they were artfully arranging my bed into a trampoline. So now that they've flown away, taking their giggles and hair products into far-off zip codes, you'd think I would feel nostalgic.  I'd think I would feel nostalgic...and want to surround myself with reminders of the magic place in my life that was motherhood.

But what I am really feeling looks a lot more like this.
I am of course still a mother...still an active mother at that. Although my ranking as the Ultimate Source of Information has fallen as that of Google has risen, I still am the one to call about the broken foot, the thrilling promotion...and yes, the request for bail. I get indecipherable text messages daily, I hear their voices weekly, I kiss their silky foreheads multiple times a year.  

And between you and me, that is enough. I can't believe I would ever say that, could ever say that, but it is true. They are Out There, where they are supposed to be. And I am in here, in my life, doing the work of entering my 60s.  I don't need to have their childhood pictures in little frames on my dresser because they are in the Vault of my mind, playing in an endless loop at any and all times of the day . I don't even need to have their adult pictures hanging on my walls because I feel their pulses in my own heart even as I sleep.

I'd rather fill my walls with images that reach the whole person that I am.

Where I came from...
Where I've travelled...
...and where my soul wants to be.

What appeals to my sense of playfulness...

Imagine doing all this work by hand and spelling the words wrong! (Flea market find)
...and of course, what just plain old appeals to me.
So this will be the summer that the photos of those little girls will move off the walls, the dresser, the ledges..and into the little cabinet under the Roadkill Frog Band. I don't feel guilty...

...I won't feel guilty.

Will I?