I’ve always really loved this photo. It used to be in a little golden frame, always on a shelf or a dresser somewhere in my parents’ house, and so many times I have stopped and picked it up, and really looked at it.
The kid is me, and the guy is my dad. He’s probably around 30 years old at the time, so I’m older now than he is there. (Woah.) And I, the child, am about two years old, like my son is now. And he’s pushing me on the swing, and I’m laughing, and my mum is probably laughing too, because she’s the one taking the photo, I think.
In all the hustle and bustle of having a farm, managing the every day, working, cooking and cleaning, there are three children growing in this family. And as they’re growing, they’re leaving some of what was them behind, and becoming something new. All the time. And we won’t get it back, not ever.
For me, this is the most difficult thing of being a parent. I constantly have to let them go, and it makes me grieve a little, all the time. Who they are is so fleeting. It’s like I cannot open my senses enough to thoroughly absorb them, to store them in my memory deeply enough.
So then, the camera helps me out. And even though it’s a thin comfort, at least it makes me think I did my best, and that I can look them up when my memory fails me. Sometimes I even pretend that what they leave behind is in my photos, so all I have to do is take good enough pictures, and then it won’t be lost after all. Through the photos we can slightly feel or subtly grasp what and who they used to be, a year ago, or a month ago, or even just last week.
Time is stored, memory is stored, love is stored, life is stored in the photos.