A Photo to Remember You

It’s 6:30am and I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth, lost in thought. GG comes in chattering away, something about a dream he had about a skate rink made out of LEGO. Best dream ever. Then he turns serious.

“I love you so much, mama, how will I ever live without you?” He’s probably been watching a bit too much TV lately, he keeps coming up with these dramatic statements. I assure him that he doesn’t need to live without me, that I’m right here. I keep brushing my teeth.

“But what about when I’m older?” he asks. I tell him that even when we don’t live together, we’ll still see each other all the time, we’ll visit and hang out. I’ve finished brushing my teeth and start heading out of the bathroom.

“But what about when you die?” Oh. That’s where this is going. I stop and nod. “Yeh baby, that’ll be sad. But you’ll be much older.” He pauses for a moment, contemplating.

“I’ll take a video!” He exclaims. “So I can remember you.”

And I realize, over these past couple of months of social isolation, he’s been taking a lot of photos and videos of me. Many of them make me cringe, a combination of bad angles and bad photography on his part and questionable fashion choices and hair washing schedule on my part.

But there’s also something beautiful about them, seeing myself through my children’s eyes. How irrelevant my own petty hangups about how I look are, in comparison. To see the love in my own eyes, looking at them. And sometimes there’s something confronting too, when they catch me in a moment of annoyance, or total distraction. The raw, unposed nature of my children’s art.

In my mind I’m scrolling through the photo roll on my phone, suddenly seeing these photos in a totally different, non-judgmental way. Probably the way I should think about all photos of myself.

He reads my mind, of course.

“You know all those photos and videos? They’re to remember you. When I’m older, you can just send them to me.”

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