Ever read this piece? I’ve come across it many times in the past year, and it is always a reminder to me to get myself in the picture. Like the author, I think about my kids in the future. i think about what they’ll think of me, and I want them to see me and have pictures of me with them in the little moments. They should know that I hung on to every single second.
"Someday, I want them to see me, documented, sitting right there beside them: me, the woman who gave birth to them, whom they can thank for their ample thighs and their pretty hair; me, the woman who nursed them all for the first years of their lives, enduring porn star-sized boobs and leaking through her shirts for months on end; me, who ran around gathering snacks to be the week’s parent reader or planning the class Valentine’s Day party; me, who cried when I dropped them off at preschool, breathed in the smell of their post-bath hair when I read them bedtime stories, and defied speeding laws when I had to rush them to the pediatric ER in the middle of the night for fill-in-the-blank (ear infections, croup, rotavirus).
I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.”
Unless I ask, “Hey, will you take a picture of me and the kids,” nobody really offers to take my picture. Sometimes, I improvise, and I balance my camera on top of something and I set the timer. Then I run back, grab the kids, and hope for the best. The pictures rarely turn out worth a damn, but they exist, so I import them into the album anyway, as if they’re just as good as the rest. Because at least it’s something.
I laughed when I saw the pictures I took in front of the tree last night: completely out of focus in every possible way, Lily’s face is cut in 2, and the edge of Lily’s school desk is showing. They suck.
But whether they’re perfect or not, those pictures mean I cared, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.