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.
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.