Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Photo Shoot

I was looking at a tub of old photos with Kelli. I noticed some back drops that I realized were pretty tired and unimaginative. Twenty years ago, I thought our house was passable, full of our junk, but semi-matched. I thought I dressed our four kids with attention to detail. They were clean, their clothes were clean and sometimes ironed, their hair was brushed, shoes tied. But looking back at the pictures, I see that we didn't quite pull it off (as far as picture perfect goes, you know) and I found this "ah ha" moment very comforting. Looking back over the last three decades of married life/family life we look pretty ordinary, scruffy even. In pictures, it's hard to see the true happiness that I remember. I'm so glad it is sealed perfectly in my heart and mind. Yes, all those smooches and laughs. All the prayers said at the dinner table. The bike rides. The car trips. The exhausted rests on a very old sofa.
For the poetry class I'm taking , we write poems. Here's a rough draft of my poem (my homework) that is due today.

Photo Shoot

Perusing family pictures I came upon
the reality of my artless decorating.

Pictures hung too high on garish wallpapered walls, thought cute by me.

Me who folded all the laundry, tied all
the mini-shoes, scrubbed little hand prints
off the white hallway as the finger smudges moved
higher and higher.

A brown calico pillow, a shabby picture
frame around a tired cliche.
Wedding presents presented far beyond
their short shelf life.

Oh, to take photographs only of faces with eyes
that begin in heaven and look past the now
through a satisfied mama
who lived in a 1980's house.

Our little "stages" set and prepared by us fade, don't they? Good meals consumed by real live people and clean beds that envelope our loved ones in comfort and peace . . . well, that's important. But most important are the people we love. I want to listen more deeply to the individuals that are forever connected to me. I want to listen to the additional warm bodies that happen to come by. I want to pay closer attention.

This red-breasted fellow posed for my "through the window" photo shoot.
Maybe he wanted to say thank you for the bits of colored yarn I laid out on the grass, so he could have some color in his family nest.
I'm so glad he stopped to stare for a while.
I'm so glad YOU stopped in today.



wayside wanderer said...

Oh, I would love to see a picture of your family "back then". And you are so right about what is really important.

Jacalyn @ rmebathproducts.com said...

I couldn't agree more. I had so much fun when my children were little and I am glad I took the time to spend with them! No regrets!


Anonymous said...

PP, can I please keep a copy of your poem? Just for my journal? I love it so. xxxx

Brad M said...

Lovely lovely poem, mama. We may have been scruffy, but we had loads of fun! I love you so much.

libbyquilter said...

love your poetry Pom Pom~!
especially the line: "scrubbed little handprints . . . higher and higher"
it brought such a smile to my face as i remember the same.


M.K. said...

Your point about the photos is SO true!! It seems impossible to capture the emotions of those times. I feel that way about photos from my childhood, with my parents. Oh, to have them be in their 40s again, and young, and agile! They're just pictures of us by a pool, in ugly bathing suits, but precious to me.

A poetry class sounds like so much fun. I wish there were one around here for me to join. I'd love to start a poetry club, or a book club, or a reading club. Just a few of us who love books and won't require each other to have clean homes for the meetings :)

Anonymous said...

You made me smile ~ I think we had some scruffy pictures too!

I think you have done a wonderful job of spreading & sharing love in your home!


Gumbo Lily said...

Pom Pom,
I have gobs of pics of scruffy country kids, and I wouldn't change a thing. We lived in an 80's house too and still do (although updated here and there).

Love is the magic!


P.S. Great poem!

Kerri said...

Oh I love your poem! I especially loved the line about taking photos only of faces with eyes that begin in heaven. So lovely! And funnily enough I was just popping in to tell you that I had just written a post that includes saying thank you to you for your poetry encouragement. Serendipity I tell you!

Kelli said...

Oh, I love the poem, mama. So heartwarming. It made me teary. I agree with Libby Q. -- that handprints higher and higher part is so meaningful. You've given me fresh eyes for these long, busy days with the littles. :* You are truly the BEST mama.

no spring chicken said...

What a wonderful poem. So very real!

Blessings, Debbie

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Such a lovely poem, Pom Pom! And I think pictures so rarely capture what's really going on. They're too posed and life is too messy.

I like your robin!


hip-chick said...

I love seeing the love and happiness in older photo's. You can't dress up a smile. It's either there or it isn't.

Floss said...

Great thoughts, Pom Pom. I've noticed a surprising trait in myself as God works on me (he's doing 'Self-Awareness' at the moment and it's challenging...) Anyway, what I do, is I remember the upsetting things and forget the good ones. Thank goodness for photos, and now for my blog, to remind me that actually life is fantastic! As an optomist, I would never have realised that this is what I was doing, but now I know... So thanks for your poem and the way it triggers happy memories!

debbie bailey said...

Very good poem, Pom Pom! Are you enjoying your class? Not too many weeks left of school. What fun things are you doing this summer?

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos :) Thank you for your lovely comment :) xxx

åslaug abigail said...

I am here to stare more often than you know. Today I'm commenting. We've been oh so busy, I'll tell you all about it!! Thanks so much for the Easter-love!! åslaug

Shey said...

hehehe that cute little bird, what a nice picture of a birdie, you have such beautiful pictures in your blog. =)

Connie said...

Your lovely post brought back so many sweet memories to me - thank you!

The dB family said...

Oh, you are a poet!! What a wonderful capture of family life. It's perfectly imperfect. I think that what makes families families. The warm memories and yes, those not quite realistic -- or perhaps too realistic capture of the photos of life at the time.


Jessica said...

Hi Pom,
I've just spent sometime enjoying your cozy, uplifting little world. It never fails to lift my spirits and inspire me. You have such a lovely grasp on all that is truly important and you make me want to do better too. This poem is precious & so you!! I too want to listen more fully to the individuals that I love. Thanks for reminding me of all that is truly important. Reminding me to count my blessings!

Big Hugs to you Pom Pom!!!