• Jeni Kelsch

Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer...

I think every family has a specific picture taker, whether it be because one person has more of a desire to capture memories or that no one else can take a picture in which nobody is headless, there are reasons. In my family, I am the picture taker. If I cease to exist, so will my family. At least, there will no longer be any documentation that they are still prowling the earth. Such is the importance of the picture taker. But an obvious consequence of being the one who always takes the picture is that I am never in them. My son recently got married and I was shocked to see in the photos from the wedding a woman with gray streaks in her hair and smile lines, grinning at my husband. I think the last picture I had of the two of us was at our wedding, so imagine my surprise at discovering this new woman had replaced me. It’s not that she looked bad, I just didn’t know she was that old. I must begrudgingly admit that when I stand in the diaper isle trying to remember why I came to the grocery store, the pictures of the women on the adult diapers look a lot more like my photo than the moms on the baby diapers. But, I remind myself, I don’t really want to be that mom on the baby diapers anymore. I don’t think I am physically up to the challenge, and I gave away pieces of my mind to each of my existing children, there isn’t much left. Even so, it’s hard to get excited about aging. Looking good for your age isn’t really the compliment it’s intended to be. It’s like saying your vegetables are pretty tasty for being slightly rotten. In the long run you just have to face facts, being old is not as good as being young. But it’s not like you get cheated, we all got to be young once, we all had a turn. I think the wisdom that comes with aging is the realization that you only get to do each age once. It causes you to start doing things you don’t want to forget to do before you run out of time or energy. I, for one, am trying to do more things that I am good at, and less things that I have never been good at but thought I ought to get good at. These things include driving silently, talking before coffee, and cooking more inventively. Having abandoned such foolishness, I can now concentrate on what matters; getting better at what I am good at. However, I am being mindful that everything I am good at is not necessarily something I should encourage. I am quite good at muttering to myself as I go about cleaning up after people, but my daughter has threated to follow me and actually listen to what I am saying, so I better curb that habit. But the other things I am good at, things that seem helpful to my family or encourage me throughout my day, I think I will work on those. Prayer, painting, talking with my kids, loving my family, I don’t plan on skipping over those, I think those things need lots of practice. I hope if I get really good at them, they may be the things my children remember about me, despite not having any pictures. And anyway, that lady in the photo with my husband, she looks pretty good for her age.

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