On Messy, Happy Photos


(Owen, Sophie and James, taken September 25)

I have yet to take a picture of all three kids looking at the camera, smiling, perfectly posed. It’s not for lack of trying. But I imagine, years from now, it’ll be pictures like this one I appreciate the most. Pictures that show not a perfectly spread quilt but rather a crumpled, messy, beautiful ABC blanket Andy’s mom embroidered for him when he was a baby with a blanket my mom made for Sophie tucked underneath. Pictures with a recorder, triangle and random baby toys strewn about. Pictures in which none of the kids’ outfits match, Owen and James are missing socks (why can’t I ever remember to put socks on them?) and Sophie is insisting on participating in tummy time, although it’s not really tummy time because tummy time never lasts all that long as everyone prefers being on their backs.

In this picture, though, all three kids are looking at the camera—that may be a first. And they all seem happy. Or, at least, content. That’s a rarity. So I like it. It’s a Saturday. A typical, natural, our-life Saturday. I may end up having to pay a professional photographer for an everyone-smiling-and-looking-at-the-camera one. And, perhaps, that will be the one I frame. But this one, and the many I have like it, will be the ones that will someday cause the heart to swell a bit with fondness, happy fondness, heartache (for time gone by) and memory—happy, happy memory.

“A photograph is memory in the raw.” —Carrie Latet