There was a time, children, when phones did not come equipped with cameras. I should know; I lived through those dark days, and even for me it’s now a concept that is difficult to grasp.
Back in the olden days if someone, a man for example, wanted to take a photograph of his daughter holding his first born grandchild, he would likely have to wrestle a roll of film into a boxy camera, maybe a Brownie, carefully aligning the slots of the undeveloped film onto a cylinder-shaped sprocket-type mechanism. He’d have to shut the case and advance the film until some vague sign from the gods told him to stop.
There might have been much fumbling and cursing as he went about this task. I wouldn’t know—I was only two and a half months old.
The man would then carefully consider the lighting and the background. He would try his best to capture a moment worth saving. You see, there were no editing options on the side of the camera. No cropping capabilities without actual scissors. Oh, and weeks might elapse between the day the image was snapped and the day it could be fetched from the drugstore, and even then one might receive only unfocused double exposures or even pictures of nothingness.
For the man, photography wasn’t a hobby. He just needed a visual reminder of how his daughter looked as she held her own daughter on an ordinary day. A moment in time that would pass and never come again in exactly the same way. A memory that his granddaughter would one day, 65 some odd years later, take a picture of with her cellphone to post on Mothers Day.
He succeeded, and I am grateful.
Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mother. I miss you every day.
Several years ago my daughter, Ashley, put together this collage of pictures of her and her brother, Jason, and presented it to me on Mother’s Day. It remains one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and makes me feel more than a little nostalgic for the days when they were little.
I’m so fortunate to be their mom, and they make me incredibly proud every day. I just hope I’m forgiven for sharing their bathtub photo!
For a combination Mother’s/Father’s Day gift our daughter had this made for Studly and me. It’s a beautiful reminder of all we’ve been through and of just how far we’ve come.
The border lists all the places we’ve lived in our marriage. In the lower right hand corner the names of our children and grandchildren are written. All around our names are our interests and Studly’s famous sayings, “Don’t say whoa in a mud hole,” “Second Sucks,” and “Can’t never could.”
The “Really, Really” is how Studly signs his cards to me. He’s been doing so since before we married. The one time he forgot I thought he wanted to leave me.
Notice the cow in the upper right hand corner. That represents Salem Sue, the huge Holstein that adorns a hill outside New Salem, North Dakota, where we lived for 18 months. The town, not the hill; although, I always told people we lived behind the left udder.
The remainder of the picture contains little bits of our lives, our hobbies and activities. Studly golfs. I drink wine. We both follow the Dallas Cowboys and ride motorcycles. Oh, and we both look like idiots trying to climb out of our kayak.
When I get old, this will be my touchstone, my connection to our past. What a wonderful gift!
I have beautiful memories of Freida Hall, the woman who wiped my snotty nose, cleaned out my grungy ears, and made sure I always wore clean underwear. Glamorous roles, indeed.
Isn’t that what being a mother is about, though? Taking on those tough jobs that nobody else wants to do: Getting up at midnight and two and four and six with a newborn who can’t settle into a schedule, or with a two year old who just wants to have a cuddle and a bit of comfort, or with a 16-year-old whose boyfriend had just broken up with her?
It’s about doing the tough love stuff when necessary–sniffing out the truth instead of believing every word her beloved child tells her. It’s about holding that child accountable for wrongdoing, and then holding her close and letting her know she’s still loved.
I’d love nothing more at this moment than to be able to tell my mom how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. I’d say:
Thanks Mommy for all of those unglamorous acts you performed, for all the wiped noses and bums, all the scrubbed faces and ears.
Thanks for all the times you stayed up with me, cuddled me, held my hand, cooled my fevered brow, and listened to my teenaged angst.
Thanks for teaching my brothers and me to be responsible adults through example and discipline and tough love.
Thanks, Mom. I love you and miss you every day.
Peace, people. Life’s too precious for anything else.