A picture says a thousand words. The person who said that has never been in my head. Nor would they want to, I suspect.
I’d like to think that I’m an avid picture taker. Really I make it a point to pull out the camera on the really important days but tend to forget those everyday adventures. You know, the days where the spice of life happens. I long to be one of those people who takes the 365 challenge. Someday, perhaps.
For now I enjoy the beauty that comes with the pictures I have taken. When I look at the pictures saved on my computer, the images hanging on my walls, the images preserved in books scattered throughout my home I don’t see a single moment in time. I see videos played in my mind. I remember the circumstances surrounding these portraits, the emotions that encompass them.
This is a photo of my newborn baby Eli. To look at it the average person sees only a typical newborn photo. I look at this photo and see all the events of that night. I remember the doctor appointment where the doctor told my honey her amniotic sack was leaking fluid and that the baby needed to be delivered. I remember the silent drive home as we both contemplated the events to follow. I remember gathering the things we would need for the hospital. I remember the drive to the hospital where we called the grandparents to be and shared our news. I remember sitting in the hospital room with my FIL spouting off ridiculous baby names before he left to go work the night shift at Chrysler. We all rolled our eyes and laughed because we knew none of those names would suit the sweet baby waiting to be born. I remember telling the nurses that the monitors weren’t reading all of the contractions that my honey was having to the degree she was having them. I remember the anesthesiologist coming in for the epidural and my honey swearing that she was sitting on the baby. I remember the resident checking her and realizing that the baby was coming, now. I remember her pushing and that baby crying the most beautiful cry ever heard. I remember her begging me to go and check on our baby, to go make sure he was ok. I remember struggling over taking care of her and taking care of him. And then the mother in me winning. I remember pushing my way through the doctors and nurses there for him only to make sure that he was ok. It was then that I snapped this picture. And immediately the nurses wrapped him up and placed a very healthy baby boy in my arms. And I cried the sweetest cry.
I smile and I cry each time I look at this picture. These cookies are the product of a recipe in a cookbook that belonged to my mother. My sister and I fought over this cookbook in a mostly light-hearted manner. There are not many family heirlooms to be passed down in our family but this cookbook was certainly a cherished one. The book is littered with favorite recipes and memories of baking with our mom in the kitchen and her handwriting in the edges and on blank pages. As we grew into adults it was agreed that I would get my granny’s piano and my sister would get the cookbook. Not long after my sister died my mother sent me the cookbook for my birthday. I opened the box and sat in the middle of my kitchen and cried. I cried so hard that both of my boys dropped what they were doing to come to the kitchen and comfort me. I was paralyzed with grief. I was holding a cookbook that didn’t belong to me, that shouldn’t be in my kitchen. When I could pull myself together I gently removed the fragile pages from the box and hid them in the cabinet above my refrigerator. I couldn’t face the words on the pages that I didn’t deserve to have. This picture signifies the moment that I listened to my heart and pulled out that book and made the cookies that we loved so very much. And I told my boys all about the childhood memories I had of eating these same cookies with their auntie.
This lovely picture? Oh how I remember the fun of that moment. It was my birthday and I longed for a walk in the park. I wanted pictures of my boys. I wanted some family time. So we walked through the woods. For the most part it was a happy walk. It alleviated a lot of the stress of that day. The beauty of time is that I don’t recall why I was stressed. I only remember the beauty of this carefree moment where the boys and I are skipping down the lane together, laughing all the while.
It’s comforting to play these moments over and over in my head based off of a single image. I use this place to write the stories that go with these images for those years when these movies no longer play as clearly. I share these stories verbally with my boys when we glance through photos together. I want them to see the video as clearly as I do so that one day they may tell the story too. The pictures will always be there. But they are nothing without the words.