Love, Loved, Will Always Love You
My mischevious little boys. What exactly do you think you are doing? Are you growing up without consulting me? You do understand that being your mom was the best thing I ever experienced. I loved being the sun and the moon to you shining little stars.
It is so rare that I have you both to myself. It is a perfect time to go through the photo albums.
I love this picture of you two acting silly underneath the beach shower. That was from our vacation in Key West, and, judging from the waterwings on your chubby little arms, I would guess that you are both under three years of age.
Look at that: Ben’s diaper is so full of water that his swim trunks are struggling to hold it up. Litte droopy butt. Nate, you were the older and taller, so it was your job to pull the shower string. Feel the cold water rain onto your heads. I can still hear your laughter! You boys were having the best time of your lives. Pull the cord; scream in laughter; pull; scream; this went on forever! Everyone was watching and laughing along with your exhibitition of pure delicious happiness.
Here is an undated photo. I am guessing, from the missing front tooth and the Tazmanian Devil sweat shirt, that this picture captured you boys while in Kindergarten and Second Grade. The biggest smiles flash as together you hold up the gingerbread house that you made all by yourselves. It doesn’t matter that it looks like a casualty of a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. You both radiate such pride and happiness.
You boys never really knew your Great Aunt Shirley, Nana’s big sister, but she sent the best presents. When you first opened the box to find a flat gingerbread house that needed construction, you were a bit disappointed. This gift had nothing with wheels or action figures or anything to do with a cartoon series on TV. But then I spread out the newspaper on the kitchen table and you saw the potential for fun. And making a huge mess. I watched you collaborate, cooperate and have a great time, the old-fashioned way. I keep that photo on the bulletin board in front of my desk. I see your smiling faces each morning that I sit down to write. You and that tilting cookie house that threatens to slide right off the plate.
Oh, here’s another great photo of you. This is the first time that you were responsible for honoring my birthday, without help from your father. Fourth and Sixth grade? You rode your bikes over to Winn-Dixie and came home with flowers and candy. It was a Snickers bar, my favorite, and it was perfect.
I stand corrected. It was Ben who rode his bike and did all the shopping. You told me that Nate handed over the money, and you did all the work. Well, I love you both for contributing in your personal styles. I valued that afternoon and was so filled with fierce mom-love for you both, equally. You know that I don’t play favorites: that is why you each accuse me of loving the other one the best. I do! And we shared the Snickers bar, cut into three equal pieces.
I am heartbroken that the album looks like something you would find in an antique store! The cardboard cover is disintigrating and the photos are fading under the plastic covering. Your ultrasounds have completely vanished from the film. Neither of you seem concerned. You tell me to throw it all away, and boast how your phones take better pictures anyhow.
I will never throw this out. Every photo is a testiment to a magical time, when you were babies, toddlers, young boys, teens. Between these pages are captured every stage of your lives. That time can never be relived. I now silently take a picture of you, heads touching, looking at the album together. I will put that photo into a frame and cherish it, and you will most likely relegate it to a box in the garage someday.
Susan W. Goldstein has written for JustBE Parenting; Silver Birch Press, Mamalode, and Mothers Always Write. She found her home amid the buzz of the internet; meanwhile, she built her forever, never-ever-ever-gonna-move-again home in Delray Beach. She knows what it means to be content.