Beautifully Imperfect

I have a favorite photo of me and the kids. I remember the day it was taken. It was quickly snapped by a friend, not the result of a professional photoshoot.

Look at those sweet faces! ❤

Everyone is looking in different directions. We are tired and messy. And yet, it remains my top pick.

The picture always surfaces this time of year. When I saw it this morning, I began to think about what it represents-an honest reflection of one day in the life of a young, stay-at-home mom.

That particular day was far from perfect. I remember having a migraine earlier that afternoon. The medicine I took made me sleepy. I also remember my husband, Gart, was not be able to attend the fall festival with us. He had a graduate school class that night. That meant I had three kids to get ready for the evening festivities by myself.

With the help of some friends, we made it to the party. Everyone had a costume. Robert was Superman, Rachel-Tigger, and Ryan-a baby bumblebee. The kids had fun playing games, spending time with friends, and collecting candy. If you look closely, you can see their candy buckets hanging on the handles of Ryan’s stroller.

My friend took the picture at the end of the evening. I remember collapsing onto the floor. The kids just naturally settling in my lap. Three tired kids and one tired mom. Yet in the picture, I am still smiling.

After considering the story surrounding my favorite photo, I am left with this truth: A perfect picture has more to do with the memories it evokes than with the image itself.

Our picture is beautifully imperfect. It reminds me of a busy and challenging time in my life. A time I would not trade for all the perfect pictures in the world.

Tree Memories

I have always loved trees. Not only are they beautiful, but they also provide refreshing shade. Though all are important in their way, some stand out above the rest.

Several specific trees from my childhood come to mind. A large tree near my grandma’s house had a basketball goal attached. I spent hours under its shade shooting hoops with my cousins. It provided family fun and a sense of security.

A lovely mimosa tree graced my parents’ front yard. With pink, feathery flowers, it made the perfect picture backdrop. I can see me now, standing nearby in my Easter dress holding my little woven basket.

We closed on the sale of our house today. This afternoon, I had one last visit with one very special tree. This tree watched over our backyard for the past sixteen years.

Our family took advantage of this picture-perfect spot many times. Easter, Mother’s Day, proms, graduations. Even those ”just for the fun of it” pics with the kids sitting up on the branches.

Today, I snapped one last picture. But this time, the tree was my only subject. Standing tall and proud, the sun shone through its branches. Inside my head, I whispered, ”Thank you.” As the wind rustled its leaves, I imagined a whisper back, “You’re welcome.”

View from the Top of the Stairs

This week it is time for solo-n-ensemble rehearsals. High school students come to my home after school to practice for their upcoming competition. Currently, my piano is upstairs in an open loft area. So, while I was waiting for my last student to arrive I sat down at the top of the stairs.

I love looking down into the living room from upstairs. It provides an interesting perspective. The light is different. Seeing the space from above causes me to notice things I might otherwise overlook.

We have taken many photos from this angle over the years. Family photos, Christmas decorations, furniture rearranging.

My favorite pic from this vantage point was secretly taken by my daughter, Rachel. So many reasons to love this photo. The warmth from the Christmas tree and lighting. Playing music with my son, Robert, practicing Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi.

“There’s never a moment without music in our house.”

Rachel is not in the photo, yet she is in the center of the memory. I can picture her upstairs in her room, listening to us practice. What made her think to snap a picture? I’m not sure. However, the memory of playing this particular music with Robert might not be as clear if not for her thoughtfulness.

My view from the top of the stairs today isn’t nearly as exciting or memorable. Yet the more I think about it, the more I realize how much it connects with this photo from the past.

Rachel’s caption for her photo was, “There’s never a moment without music in our house.” Something I hope will always be said about our home.

Why was I sitting at the top of the stairs today? I was taking a rest from making music…waiting to make more.