The Power of a Photograph

My folks walked on years ago.  My folks were older when they had me.  Mom thought she had gone through the change of life.  She went to the doctor thinking she had the flu. It (ME) wasn't the flu at all.  Like many Catholics, my parents didn't practice any sort of birth control and the three pregnancies before ended in a miscarriage.   My mother shared with me her terror, when she became pregnant with me, when my wife had just miscarried and my heart was broken. We wanted a big family.  My mother tried hard to console my broken heart. Three babies died within her and time flashed by to her mid 40's. She knew, she just knew that I would cause her the heartache that a miscarriage brings.  I was born a more than a month early; RH factor, she explained.

In my mind, my mother is the age of most grandmothers.  Time and health issues had worn her down. In my teen years, she was approaching retirement age.  She didn't have the patience or energy of a younger mother. When I was born she had wrestled 5 children through the tumult of the 60's and 70's. My father's failures and triumphs often taxed her.  My father was a dreamer and mother couldn't afford such luxuries as dreams with 5 hungry babies. My memories of mom, are of an old, worn down, sad woman. I wish it were not so, but, life isn't what we want, it is what it is.

Even as a young child, I found photographs magical.  In my hands is this thick paper; I held a magic window that opened up the past.  I filed through photos of my grandparents who had died and I missed, and photos of my uncles and aunts.  Old homes and cars. Pure magic. Then I came upon this photo. Whoever this woman was, she was so pretty and her eyes were so kind.  I imagined maybe she was an aunt. My mother laughed when she saw the photo. "That was me in 1948. I got my first job in St. Louis and had just met this tall dark and handsome guy.  I never dreamed of a man so handsome or strong." I looked at the photo stunned. Was my mother young? How could this be? "Who was the man?" She smiled dreamy like..."Bob Livingston. Your dad's blue eyes would carry me away from every pain."  My mother had romantic feelings for my father? How crazy?

All of the sudden, I wondered what my mother was like when she was my age before the trials and tribulations of life which weathered her.  I love old photos. Time travel is a reality because of photography.

Happy Mother's Day. I miss you, Mom.