Prompt: Write about a place that no longer is
April 22, 2007
I finally framed that little snapshot that had been in our family photo album for 25 years. I put it on the windowsill in my studio, beside a small photo of my mother.
The picture was taken in Laurie’s den after one of my earliest outings after John was born. I walked the two blocks to her house with all my little ducklings—my 3 little girls following behind as I pushed the old green buggy that carried their new brother.
Laurie, ever the neighborhood historian, lined the kids up on her couch. Julie, age 7, holding weeks-old John, Sarah at 5, with her hand on his leg, Rebecca at 2, looking at John rather than the camera. As long as I could remember, I wanted a big family. (9, I used to say as a kid). I loved pregnancy, giving birth, and babies, babies, babies! I guess to me, John finally made us a big family and through the years I loved photographing them as a group—when I could assemble them as a group. That picture represents a moment in time when I had everything I ever wanted. How lucky was I—at 34—that my life had been so blessed. I knew I wanted that large family, but also knew there was a matter of luck involved in that. Not everyone meets the right man. Not everyone is able to conceive, or give birth to a healthy child. I had done so FOUR times. Everything I always wanted.
With Julie the oldest at 7—for all of us—the best of our lives were ahead of us. They were all still closely under my supervision and protection. I could even still choose their friends and activities, healthy food, TV shows and movies. Still hopes of honor students, obedient personalities, loving Little House on the Prairie people—the Waltons—it was all possible at that moment in time when that photo was taken.
But that moment in time is SOOO long gone—twenty-six years ago. Not only is Rebecca gone, the other three are gone in a different way. The pure innocence of life and hope have cut through our family. But I still love that picture because it reminds me that once I DID have everything I wanted. Now I have everything that’s HAPPENED…but we are still a family. And it’s nice to know WHO we all have become, even without Rebecca. How lucky we didn’t know what would happen to our lives when that photo was taken. That moment was perfect—as are many moments, really, if we only remember to breathe them in, hold our breath and enjoy them. Tomorrow we will add another snapshot of something that is no more.