Friday, December 30, 2016
There are pictures of me with my children, an unusual thing since it's mothers who take the pictures of their children and are seldom seen in the frame. The only reason I have a record of me learning how to mother these babies of mine, is because my mother was there to photograph it.
She would push me into the picture, "Get in, get in, or you will never see yourself with them." And with her 110 instamatic, she would click away, taking no less than three in case I had my eyes closed, or was looking away, or didn't like one of them.
I never knew what she was doing, but she did. She was freezing time. She knew then how fleeting our days are with our children being small. I didn't know that yet, I was drowning in two children less than two years apart, to even catch sight of shore.
But she knew, and she knew that one day, I would look at these photos of me, beaming while holding my baby up to the camera, and I would relive that time of uncertainty mixed with joy.
I miss my mother. She passed away three years ago, and when I look at pictures of me with my babies from then, both mother and child just starting with new lives, I know that I have these photos because of her.
I don't think I can make that point enough, that any pictures I have of me with my children when they were fresh, so young, are because of my mother.
Of course, I miss her voice, it grew tougher toward the end of her hospice care, but there was a rhythm to it when she said my name, that even writing about it now is impossible without a lump in my throat.
I miss her voice, I miss the way she knew me longer than anyone, I miss how to her, my children were the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen.
I took this photo here, calling out to my son and my mother, three weeks before she passed away. "Mama," I waved to her, "get in closer to Auggie." But she kept waving back to me instead. "Mi'ja," I remember her saying, "take a picture, so we have it."
I took three, in case there was one she didn't like.
The thing is, each one turned out just as beautiful as the other.
Happy birthday, mama, I miss you.
Happy birthday always.