Why I'm Taking More Pictures With My Kids

by Marina Kmiec
Originally Published: 
Marina Kmiec

Dear kids: I’m sorry you can’t see me.

One day, sooner then you’d ever like (because there will never be enough time to love you), I will be your favorite character to talk about. You’ll find yourselves deep into a memory about how I thought you could buy stock in the concept “hash tag” and all of your friends will laugh. You’ll go on a little too long and your friends will nod and smile with a broken heart, because the unnecessary details that you’re giving about me won’t be relevant to the story, but it will be a display of how much you miss me. You’ll find yourselves using phrases you despised growing up. My mantras will become your mantras, not because you fiercely believe in them, but because you will miss the way my voice cracked when I tried to say them sternly.

You will miss me, and you will have 30,000 stories to depict an accurate picture of who I was. You’ll use adjectives that will frustrate you because none of them will really do the trick. You’ll read Mother’s Day posts about how other people have “the best mom in the world” and you’ll silently chuckle, because you know that they’ll be wrong, because you do. (NOTE: They aren’t wrong, and neither are you. Mothers are magic.)

All of the words and all of the stories, all the recipes and all of my mantras still won’t show your grandchildren how I was incapable of smiling without EVERY. SINGLE. TOOTH. showing.

You won’t be able to show your granddaughter how her and I have same freckle above our upper lip, or how your grandson and I share the same side-eye when someone did something strange.

You won’t have the evidence of my horrendous idea to get bangs when someone is telling you how “they think they want to cut their hair.”

You won’t be able to explain to someone how my eyes looked brown, but turned golden when the sun stung them, and when that happened, I was my happiest.

You will alway have your memories, but you will never have the proof.

I have been busy documenting every haircut and first day of school for you for so long that I never think of how incapable you are of telling the first volume of your series without the main persona present in the character list. There is no one to blame but me.

You see, I always think,” I’ll get in the picture next time! I didn’t do my hair!” Or, “let’s just take a picture of the kids for the Christmas card this year, no one needs to see my extra 20lbs of baby weight.” I did that so often that instead of being one of the most vibrant colors in your picture book, I am tinseled through it. I pop in on big events or annual holiday pictures and I am likely perfectly put together, hair done, smile calm, make-up ON — all of the things I am NOT in the stories you tell with too much detail.

I am aware of how important this is, because one of my favorite things to do is look at old pictures. The smell of mildew and freshly brewed coffee put me into a trance, recalling all of the things from my first volume, that made me who I am. And the only thing I can think of when gazing at how lucky I’ve been is: Where’s mom?

I promise I’ll do better, you deserve the proof.

All my love,


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