photo: Julie Johnson
When I see my father with my children, there are so many emotions that run inside me. I feel a sense of joy that they are enjoying each other's company. But there is also sadness that creeps in. I can't help but wonder how many more years will they be able to share? I wonder should I be doing more to hold on to these precious moments? Am I to videotape when they are together? I've watched these in the past and they seem unfinished. They can't capture the nuances or the emotions. I take pictures of course, in hopes to preserve it all in a type of time capsule.
We lost my mother ten years ago. My children were so little so I decided to make a copy of every picture of them with her and place them inside a special box for each child. It brought me comfort. It still does. Yet, knowing what is inevitable now with my dad, I'm faced with guilt that I'm not doing enough to keep these memories alive.
(photo: Sarandy Westfalls)
Have you ever started videotaping an incredibly magical impromptu scene? Everything suddenly stops once they are aware of the camera, and people become self-conscious. The exact opposite of what you want. I've bought books where both parties list attributes and memories...but they somehow fall flat.
I've noticed that memories change as we get older. It's painful to realize my son, who's 14 now, has forgotten many things about his time with my mom. Or maybe it's the fact that little details I was hanging on to have lost their significance. Sliding down her knees, being her "Rag Mop" is ingrained in his memory but more like a book he's read.
(photo: Nikoline Arns)
And then recently, out of the blue, my son told me how so much of what he is and loves is from my mother. His passion for learning, music, imagination, and sense of fun. And I realized that it's stronger than a memory, her legacy is him.
I still take pictures of my father with my kids. I videotape little obscure moments. But that panic inside me to catch every nuance has subsided a bit. I want their time together to be real and free of technical devices. I think there will always be a challenge...a bit of a battle, to live these moments fully and keep them sacred.