Like most women at my stage of life, I have a lot of titles: wife, sister, daughter, aunt-all great, but the title that has shaped who I am today above all is that of “mom”. The planet shifted for me on August 31, 1985 and there has been no going back.
More talented folks than I have tried to describe accurately the how’s and why’s the becoming a mother marks a woman. It changes the filter for how the world is seen. Every childhood accident, disease or world calamity is sifted through my mother eyes. Navigating through 9/11 was no picnic.
Can I get an amen?
I have a bookcase of photo albums documenting most of the moments of motherhood in the past almost 30 years. Birthdays, vacations, holidays and school days in print, and now in digital format show our family’s life progression. But even with all the photos/videos we have, not all moments were captured. The big events were never my favorite days. It was the everyday mothering when I was caught up with the sheer joy of being with my boys-taking walks, being at the pool, playing a game on the kitchen table while I cooked supper…those mundane minutes that make up a life – those were the ones I loved best.
The one’s when I didn’t think to whip out the camera.
My favorite moments, the ones when I was so caught up in the “being present” and taking the surroundings, the looks on the faces of the boys and man I love were such powerful times of intense joy that grabbing a camera was not even on my radar. I just lived and breathed and took it all in, afraid if I moved- the moment would be lost and the spell broken.
That happened a lot as we took the photos in the albums. The camera, while documenting the event, broke the magic. And I couldn’t get it back. The camera was the intruder and later became an object of resentment. At least that’s my rationale. That and the whining from the males in my life: “Put the camera away!”
As the boys grew to into men and moved away for college and jobs -the minutes I longed for were few and far between: Saturday lunches on the back porch while they had spent the morning helping their dad on a project, too dirty to eat in the kitchen so we ate on the porch an extra long lunch. Waking up on the couch when the key turned in the door after returning from a date and talking about the evening. The countless, precious, holy hours spent on car rides to school, ball games, grocery stores, church activities and every place a boys life leads a mama….these are the snapshots of life I never want to forget.
I beg my mind to always remember the small moments, those without 4x 6 glossy finished paper to hold. Those I want to always carry with me and ponder in my heart.
Just like Mary, Jesus’ mother did.
The Bible says that she watched all of his growing up days and she “pondered them in her heart.” I think that means she relived them in her mind over and over. So I call those times when I do it for my boys-“Mary Moments.”
These past few years I have more and more “Mary Moments”. The best camera I own is the one on my iPhone which is always nearby, yet I can’t bring myself to point and shoot…to risk losing the moment. As a result I have precious few pics these days of the rare times when all 3 of my boys are in the same place. I start the beginning of the visits with “Now, before we all leave, I want a picture of all of us.” And as the last one heads for home-to Arizona, to New York and down the street-I remember.
I forgot the pictures.
Heart sick, I vow that next time, it will be different, no matter what I’m getting some pictures.
But we never do. Happiness at all being in one place trumps pictures and I guess my brain can only take in so much. And so I comfort myself by saying “Mary Moments.”
Till next time.
Happy Mother’s Day – take a picture, ok?