The Power of a Photograph

Dear Mack,

This would make you crazy, I know, but I have surrounded myself with pictures of you. They give me some comfort throughout each day without you and provide a warm sense that you are still with me and watching over me. Ok, you can stop making fun of me now, young lady. But seriously, I wanted to tell you that there is one photograph to which I have become particularly attached. And, more importantly, I wanted to tell you why I love it so much.a favorite photo 2

I picked up this cute little metal frame at World Market; it looks a little antiquey and it has a small metal hook tied with a rough-hewn rope. It is a two-sided frame. On one side, I placed one of your wallet-sized senior pictures. I adore this picture, because it is so casual and shows you wearing your favorite Chuck Taylor high tops. In the photo that I placed on the other side of this little frame, you are all dolled-up ready for prom, and I am a privileged interloper in the shot. The two photos provided the contrasting images of you that I deliberately sought; one casual and one fancy, together in a convenient portable frame. This frame I carry around with me like a security blanket. It spends time in the kitchen when I am cooking, sits on the arm of my favorite leather chair when I am reading or watching a basketball game, and spends the night on my bedside table.a favorite photo 3

Lately, I have noticed that it is the prom picture side that I choose to more frequently display; and this is the picture that has become so important to me. I noticed myself getting lost in that photograph, and I determined to give some serious thought about why I was finding is so compelling. I stared at it for a long, long while, and I embraced the powerful way in which it encapsulates so many of my memories of you.

My dear, sweet Mack, I love this picture of us because:

  1. You look absolutely beautiful. Even though beauty was not important to you and it is the least important reason why you were so special, I always thought you were beautiful. Gorgeous skin. Adorable freckles. Silky smooth and shiny hair. Statuesque physique. Here you are in this photo without a speck of makeup; and here you are looking absolutely perfect. You said you felt uncomfortable in that dress, but you do not look awkward at all. You were a natural beauty.
  2. It shows the ridiculous size difference between us that you always found so amusing. I think I might have been standing in a bit of a hole here, but in the interest of full disclosure I will remind you that you were wearing flat sandals so you would not be taller than Abhinav. Yet even if I would have been standing on that concrete ledge next to my feet, you still would have towered over me. This picture reminds me that our size difference made your special mom hugs possible. I loved it when you would rest your chin hard on the top of my head, squeeze me, and call me a “small huggable person.” You did it the day your dad took this photo, just before you left our front yard for dinner and the prom.a favorite photo
  3. You are holding your damn phone! Even there, all dressed up for prom, the phone is present. I am pretty sure I did not notice you were holding it when we took the picture. Surely, I would have chastised you and made you put it down for two seconds. But now, seeing it in this context, it makes me smile.
  4. Our favorite family hosta plant is bursting out of the ground behind us. It was only spring and there it is already well on the way to its annual takeover of the flower bed. We used to laugh and laugh about that stupid plant, because you said it epitomized our silly employment of the term “from the Pleistocene Epoch” for everything we saw that was abnormally humongous. You made me laugh, Mack. You even made hostas funny. I loved that about you.
  5. In this photo, I am one happy mom. Being your momma bear was a tremendous joy and watching you grow and participate in the important events of your life were the happiest days of my life. You and Sissy were my best accomplishments. You and Sissy provided the most important pleasures in my life. I am so grateful for the experiences you gave me; and I am grateful now for photographs like this one that help me relive the best twenty years of my life when I was the mother of two precious girls.

3 thoughts on “The Power of a Photograph

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