What Every Mother Is Thinking Before She Takes The Picture

by Mary Katherine
Originally Published: 
MK Backstrom

It was the perfect family Saturday.

The kids slept late, so I snuck out of bed to cook biscuits, bacon, and eggs. It’s something my mother always did on Saturdays, and even the act of pulling out a cast iron skillet puts me in a pleasant mood. Also…the bacon.

We sat at the table and ate as a family, played in the backyard until noon, and then everyone piled into bed and napped to escape the Florida heat. It rained a little as we snoozed. Heavenly.

Then we all woke up to order trash food and watch some football.

Like I said, the perfect family Saturday.

Whether by luck, or some early Christmas miracle, the baby went to bed at 5:30 that evening and my 4-year-old son decided to be snuggly instead of hyper. He crawled up on his daddy’s lap, burrowed against his chest, and started mimicking our football banter.

“C’mon, man! You can’t just run it up the middle every time. Switch it up!” my husband said.

“Yah, man! Run somewhere else!” my toddler added.

I was sitting there, soaking in this adorableness, and thought to myself, “Awww, how sweet.”

I almost let it go at that.

(But I’m a mom, y’all, so of course I didn’t.)

Instead, I picked up my phone to take this picture:

MK Backstrom

I stared at those two boys like a total creep and the floodgates opened up. My brain was filled with a million thoughts. Thoughts that every mother has before she takes the picture:

How much I love them both. How I would kill anyone who tried to hurt my child. How grateful I am for a husband who is a good father. How beautiful it is to see a dad who stays. How heartbreaking it is when they don’t.

How my husband’s hand gently covers my son’s forehead, and I wonder how amazing it must be for a child to be secure in a parent’s love like that. How much these boys are pretending to watch football when they really just relish an excuse to cuddle on the couch for an hour. How the slopes of their noses match for just a bit, then my son’s nose changes at the end, proving once and for all he’s mine.

How amazing it is that we created this little soul. Part him, part me, but wholly someone else. I study those chubby little cheeks, which have thinned significantly this past year. Can we make time stop? I would stop it right here, right now, and keep those kissable cheeks fat forever. Look how long his body is. I remember when his entire body fit inside the crook of my arm as we rocked and rocked. The sun would come up on our rocking. I was so tired back then…but I miss it already.

Goodness. Did I take it for granted? I hope not. It seems like I’m always looking forward to the next phase and flying blindly through the one we are in. I’m so happy and so sad just watching these two sit on a couch, and I’m pretty sure my son is gonna jump down any minute and ask for the car keys.

Make it stop!

I’m still staring. My heart is aching from all of this ginormous love, and I’m soaking it all in when my husband catches a glimpse of me wiping away a tear. He looks a little puzzled and raises an eyebrow to ask if I’m okay.

“What’s up, babe?”

And like every mother who has a million thoughts in a minute and a million emotions in a moment, I smiled and responded with a shrug:

“Oh, nothin’. Just thought I’d take a picture.”

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