Dear House Blog Diary,
Sorry for my absence. Last week I was very busy getting ready for a surprise party that my sister and I opted to throw for our mother’s fiftieth birthday at the home of a friend of hers. SO last week a) I was busy and b) my wonderful mother is subscribed to this blog and if I told you all what I was up to, then we wouldn’t very well have a surprise. Of course she was onto us, but nonetheless appreciated our efforts.
If I could’ve, I would’ve told you all about sneaking to the party site and scheming about where people were going to hide and where food would be served. I would’ve told you all about hitting the party store and checking out rude silly favors and buying margarita salt. I also would have mentioned elusively getting our mitts on family photos and making a slideshow with them. I also would have been able to tell you about swiping mom’s cd collection and making a lengthy playlist with it.
What I really wanted to tell you about that I found though was some roots that are photographed. I told all of you that I grew up in my great grandparents’ house. I don’t know if I mentioned that that’s also where my mom and her two brothers essentially grew up. There is a massive collection of photographs that my mother keeps stashed away and a few of them date back to before she was born. Some are yellow, some are black and white, and some are stuck together. I saw horn-rimmed glasses, low t-strap heels, and lots of family poses; not necessarily the candid shots that I am so fond of for my own children.
Sifting through the albums and the boxes and envelopes of visuals, I began to see a journey that I forgot about. The fact is that my mom was just Debbie before she was my mom. She was a darling baby and a cute toddler and then she, just like other kids, sprouted up and then I noticed this glow in her teenage photos. Maybe it was really good lighting or maybe it was the thrill of being big enough to take on the unknown, but in those pictures she is so sure of herself. And then of course come the photos of her becoming “mom” — her dream — I don’t know who took each one, but someone captured that silence in which a mother realizes that she is fully capable of taking care of the newborn that so desperately depends on her. When fewer and fewer aspects of that transition cease to be foreign and grow to be basic.
Some pictures I know my father took, such as the one of my sister as a toddler asleep next to my mother in bed. Then there are several that my mother took of my father and us. My dad was really dorky when he had teeth. The underlying concept that I picked up was that at the end of the day, they were a family and that’s what was most important.
All the while the backdrop is my great grandparents and their house.
Family Christmas pictures fizzle out as my mother became the cameraman but at least in the pictures that us kids are posing for, we are huddled together, smiling, and in some cases helping eachother hold whatever prop mom needed a picture of with us. I realized that my mother bound us all together as children into a lasting connection called family. As an adult, I thought us children were just close and lucky enough to have personalities between us that get along naturally. I now understand that that closeness was fostered and nurtured throughout most of our lives and that her hands guided us together, for as much as we fought.
It is a concept that I am trying now to develop in my own children in hopes that they will continue to secretly be each other’s best friend for years to come. Thank you for that, mom. Happy Birthday.
Fifty Years is a Pretty Long Road
Dear House Blog Diary,