|Birthday Memories From 1985|
I was tossing and turning last night, fighting whatever it is that sometimes sneaks up on me, when I finally am able to lay my head on the pillow and get some rest.
As I lay there in the dark quiet night, my eyes open wide, I thought on the day, my worries and anxieties, plans, and life. Often in recent days, upon reflection of life, Facebook will imminently come to mind. Perhaps someone’s perfect professional photo of their family, or the perfect explanation of the perfect day that they had. Maybe it is the perfect summary of the perfect town that they live in, with their confident plans and point of view. I read these summaries, not always consciously evaluating my thoughts or reactions, but in the still of the night, I found my mind thinking on whether my life was perfect as well.
I thought on how my house is under construction and there is dust everywhere, and I thought on how every day, I wake up striving and praying for patience, but not always succeeding. I thought on how, tonight for dinner we had scrambled eggs and some fruit since I had not secured enough time to make an entire meal. I thought on my family, and how sometimes we argued and sometimes we listened to each other, and then I thought on how sometimes moments passed that were so special and beautiful that I grab for my camera, but somehow the picture reflected is imperfect. Someone’s eyes are closed, or my finger has crept in on the edge, or the toys that were not put away are strewn about the room, creating a less than perfect image. Many times, in an attempt to stay organized, I will press the little trash bin button on my phone and delete the photo right away. The photo of the moment, that was so special that I wanted to capture it and keep it forever.
At the same time, I think on how, I can be feeling very sad, or tired but I see my three children sitting there under a tree or perhaps on the swing and again I take out my phone and take a snapshot of the moment. And though my heart had felt sad that whole day, the light perfectly captures their happy smiles, and the twinkles in their eye, and very often that is the photo that is stored for years to come in my scrapbook or displayed on a shelf for all to see, or many times the one that I share on Facebook.
I then thought on my family photos, the ones that my father would take with his film camera, the kind of camera where you would take a photo and have to wait until the store had developed it to see what it captured. I have looked through these photos so many times, that sometimes it’s even hard to remember, were these memories stored from the moment or from my constant viewing of my treasured family photo albums. And if it is indeed that my memories are blurred from the pictures in my family photographs then perhaps deleting those imperfect photos are painting an unrealistic, interpretation of life. Will my children look back and see a home always clean, children always perfectly behaved and smiling in their perfectly ironed dresses and clean shirts and think they have somehow not measured up. That life is supposed to be perfect.
As I lay in bed the image of Christmas time popped into my head and our family Christmas tree. Every year we laugh share memories from each of our treasured Christmas ornaments. Some were purchased on vacation, others were gifts for special occasions while others are bits of cardboard crafts, and paper embellishments passed down as the children’s contributions from school or home projects. Each Christmas my husband and I will arrange the breakables, the more expensive, ornaments towards the top of the Christmas Tree, while the children decorate the bottom half. The baby usually clumps all of her ornaments in one little corner, and many times there are empty patches with no ornaments at all. I can only imagine if a stranger would look in on our Christmas tree from the window they would think it a mess, unorganized perhaps a professional decorator would see it as a disaster. But from a mother and a father’s heart, and a child’s loving spirit, our Christmas Tree is a beautiful example of life’s true beauty. Because beauty and love is not perfect it can be disorganized, it can be hod-podged, we do not always look beautiful, or perfectly displayed, and it’s important to remember that many times what the world would call imperfect are the most special, the most intimate, and the most beautiful blessings of them all.