Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Picture the Mind Takes

I read a column by Anna Quindlen years ago, years before my own kids were born, about the dangers of seeing life through a camera lens--video or static, at that time. The message--to see with your own eyes those special moments when your kids are young to better engrave those memories in your heart--resonated.

Hubby documents our lives copiously via visual technology, in much the way I explore the emotional and spiritual geography of our lives via the written word. Between us, we cover a lot of ground. He natters at me sometimes for not taking more pictures and video, and I natter back at him for not living enough in the moment.

But there is a moment I captured with my eyes--and heart--about a year and a half ago. The boys and I had visited their doctor--I believe it was a well visit for one or the other of them--and at the end of the visit, she pulled out a bag of lollipops and offered for them to each take one.

*Click* I see it front of me as clearly as I see this screen. Dr. R holding open the bag in front of the door that leads up into her house. She is smiling, looking down at Nic (has to be two years ago, since now he is nearly her height) and G while they fish around the bag for the flavors they like best.

I remember my breath catching in my throat at that moment, because the lighting in the room was such that everything had a sepia cast, including my kids and Dr R. Like I was framing a moment that would be lost forever, and understanding in that moment, that sooner or later, Dr. R would be part of our past.

And so. That moment came yesterday, as I picked up my boys' records. Dr. R is retiring, bringing another chapter of our lives to a close. And I took a picture of them for posterity....but it will not be the picture I think of.

The real picture for posterity is the one I took with my eyes that afternoon a couple years back.

I cry, but I'm not sure why. We've had our differences, and God knows we've raised our voices at one another more than once in the last eight years. But be that as it may, she was a very important part of our lives.

I'll miss her.

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