I see you snapping away sending your friends close up pics of your face while you are eating a burger. And I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve seen you send a picture of the top of your head, or your feet out into the universe.
Dancing TikTok videos with your friends are okay for all to see but when it comes to taking a picture with your mother, you would “rather die.”
Why is it so hard for you to take a picture with me?
It seems to be the hardest thing in the world for you to do and every time I ask, you act as if I’m asking you to roll a boulder up a hill. It irritates me and there are times I think, This is too much trouble for them! I’m never asking again! They will be sorry when I’m gone!
I won’t stop though. I cannot go through life as your mother and not want a picture with you. We are a team; a tribe. We have our own personal story and private jokes. And damn, you are all so beautiful I want to capture images of you in my mind.
I know you don’t get what the fuss is all about. I should be able to live my life without getting pictures of us together, according to the three of you. At sixteen, fifteen, and thirteen you simply don’t have time to stand on the porch and get a picture with me. And it doesn’t matter how long I beg or if I bribe you.
The moments just fly by so fast
What you don’t know is this: after you become a parent, the moments fly by so fast you want to grab them and snuggle into them with your eyes closed because they leave you too quickly.
One minute I was bending over to change your diaper and the next I am watching you drive down the driveway.
Parents have memories (and mine is starting to fade in my mid-forties no matter how hard I fight it), and we have pictures of our parenthood journey. That is it. Those little time capsules that we can bring up on our phone and stare into bring us great comfort as you get older.
You change by the week. You grow like a weed. You are constantly breaking into new versions of yourself and the one thing I can do is stand next to you, hold you tight, smile with a smile that says, “I was here for this. I survived this. We survived this. And we learned so much.”
Raising teens is an accomplishment I want to memorialize
It’s an accomplishment to raise kids. It makes me feel good to look at you and see pieces of your true self mingled with lessons I’ve taught and situations I’ve helped you through.
So, to my three teens: I know you love me. Truly, I do. But I gave birth to you. I wiped your bum thousands of times. I’ve helped you through heartbreak and talked you down from frustration. I’ve lost lots of sleep and cried many tears when I thought for sure I’d screwed you up for ever.
Believe me, there will come a time when you will be so happy about all I’ve documented. It might be when you have kids of your own so you can show them what you looked like at the various stages of your life. It might be when you meet your one true love and you want to share everything with them and show them all of who you are. And it might not be until I’m not here anymore and you’ll want a glimpse of your childhood to bring you comfort and feel like I’m still with you.
Whatever the case is, let me have this; this split second where I can stop time and we all look at the camera and silently say, “We are in this together and we like our life.”
I deserve it.
After all, I held each of you close in my hospital gown without a bra, cords floating off my arms and sported a swollen, sweaty body and face and was proud to have my picture taken with you.
If moms of the world can endure that, then their teens can stop for a moment, put their ego aside, and take the damn picture with their mother.
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