Off the top of my head, I can think of two photographs from my childhood of my entire family. All nine of us. And, I get it, mom. I’ve got about half of the kids that you had, and I’m finding it challenging to get a photograph of all of us together.
But the thing is, I love those photos. One is from 1988, of all of us at Grandma’s house, just after my youngest sister was born. Those are the golden years of my childhood. The other is from around 1992 and is from a portrait studio in the era of mullets and Ninja Turtle sweaters.
This is our shot for May, just before we headed out to my nephew’s baptism. It’s always a feat to get all four of the boys to sit still for a second. This photo is just typical. Nathan is always distracted by something. Alex is missing a shoe. My dad is obediently taking the photo for us and doesn’t notice that Jacob is all but disappearing in the back. This is a money shot. It’s all of us, and so it is special.
Someday, I hope my boys will look back on it and giggle at our outdated clothes and hairstyles. But mostly I just hope that they look back on it. I wonder what memories it will stir up for them. I wonder if they will remember that we were photobombed by a random zombie while taking this photograph.
More on that later.
I want to tuck these days into neat little posts that capture everything. Alex isn’t able to sit himself into a swing yet, but he slings himself over the seat, with it tucked up under his armpits and his feet dangling and spins himself and laughs. He’s easily surprised and delighted by everything, and his eyebrows shoot straight up and his mouth makes a perfect little circle. He has learned to push the kitchen chairs around to climb on them and reach the counter tops and open the freezer.
Jacob is always tucked into corners playing Clash of Clans and Pokemon on his tablet – content to be on his own. He has one good friend named Tony who he loves to hang out with, and for him that is plenty. He still feels so fragile at eight years old – all elbows and knees and long limbs. Sometimes I worry that he gets overlooked because he is so quiet. The plight of the wallflower middle child.
Nathan is solidly built and doesn’t feel fragile at all. He has grown so much already this year. We love his golden red hair and how it’s perfectly white-blonde beneath the crown. He comes in two-tone … you pay extra for that. Nathan is always sneaking yogurts after he’s been told no, and is the master of extending bed time. He is loving, cuddly and clumsy, rough without meaning to be when he climbs happily into your lap.
Benjamin is eleven now. Always the responsible one, the compassionate and mature older brother. I never fret over him. He excels in school, he makes friends easily, he gets along with everyone. He listens. He reflects. He makes good decisions. He wants so badly to be one of the adults. He is outgrowing his childhood too quickly.
What do I want them to remember of May 2014? That our cat Remy disappeared for 6 nights and we spent the better part of the week worrying about what could have happened to him. Turns out that he was hiding out in a shed two houses down all along. I want them to remember staying up too late in their rooms long after we sent them to bed and thinking that they were being sneaky about it. Eating s’mores at Luke and Meese’s and playing with their cousins. I want to remember kissing cheeks that smell faintly of sunscreen and the sounds of the kids laughing in the backyard.
Things have been slow for Sean at work. It’s been like this since mid-February, and no word on when things will pick up. It’s been discouraging to eat into the savings that we had finally started to build up. Something is wrong with the van again and we’ve been putting off getting it fixed. It seems like every time we take it in to the mechanic, it costs us around $700.
Even though Sean is getting less hours, he still seems to be gone a lot. It’s the commute mostly. Since Nathan is in school every other day now, often Alex and I are left to our own devices at home. I have been feeling a bit uninspired lately. Alex is still really demanding and wants to be held constantly. I sometimes feel like we aren’t two separate people yet.
What do they say about motherhood? The days are long, but the years are short. I know I will miss all of this. I wonder what it will be like when they are all teenage boys. Will I even remember all of these tender little boy moments? It’s strange to want to just plow through these crazy years and freeze time all at once.
And, I know, I promised a zombie photobomber. There’s no back story to this. He was just a random zombie stranger who was hanging out where we were taking our photo. Quite a friendly zombie anyway!
Up next in the circle are some beautiful photos of Michele Quatrin and her daughter.