I hope some day you read this after I have organized all the photos I’ve taken of you into an album or 20. I’m writing, assuming my time on Instagram was well spent, and at some point I had a few moments to print out the ten thousand pictures I took and place them into binders you are able to flip through. Maybe you’ve just finished making fun of skinny jeans and archaic technology like cell phones and dvd players.
When you sit together on Sunday evenings, full from our weekly family dinner, picture albums on your laps (this is my dream remember?), I hope you ooh and ahh over the photos and they stir up vivid memories. But I also hope you see past those pictures, rich with crops and edits and filters. I want you to love the photo that looks like your sister is touching a rainbow but I also want you to recall that two of you were jumping through mud in your underwear right behind that shot.
On the next page you might see a picture of a clean kitchen table, nothing on it but an art project or a gingerbread house. Well, that table? I swiped it clean and stuck the art project back on top and those gingerbread houses were made WEEKS after Christmas, the candy reaching a hazardous level of stale.
Of course I want your memories to be pretty and sweet and clear in focus but I want them to be real. I’ve lost my patience and raised my voice and thrown up my hands at bedtime and if you are a parent now you will too.
You will crouch down and look into the crumpled face of a toddler and tell him he has to try at least one green bean. You will shuffle your protesting teen out the door, not really sure if you should have let her stay home. There will be so many decisions you have to make with no parenting book to consult and too many situations where you’ll wonder if you should have done things with more commitment or less concern.
I want you to see it all and remember it as I do. Underneath the sharpened colors and behind the fingerprinted camera lens is a mom who just loves you. She does things right and she does things wrong and some days she tries harder than others and wishes she had that much energy/patience/understanding during the next day that doesn’t go so well.
As you flip through the album of your childhood, I hope you enjoy the view but never forget the stack of outtakes holding up those perfect singular moments.
Your mom (who still isn’t gray, this is her dream remember?)
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