Sunday, August 25, 2013

The In Between

There are oh, so many poseable moments in life. They are the moments most of us dream about... The first day of high school, senior prom, high school graduation, that weekend trip to the lake with all your besties - the one you still talk about about 20 years later. First day of college, the big engagement, the wedding day, sunset on your honeymoon, the day your first child is born... We can follow these moments in photographs because they are captured this way. Still images of a perfect life. Of making our dreams come true.

I was thinking the other day about these moments with my kids. As my oldest son begins his Junior year of high school, I find myself reminiscing about when he started kindergarten.  I have folders and boxes of photographs of all those milestone moments from his first 16 years. But when I think - really think - about all the most precious memories I have with him, it's not the photographed ones that come to mind.

It's the moments in between...

It's the late nights when he had trouble falling asleep, and I'd climb into his bed and read to him by flashlight so as not to wake his little brother, snoring softly in the next bed.

It's the impromptu snack after a rough day at school, sitting on the front steps licking peanut butter off our fingers, and staring at the little cowlick on the back of his head, hoping I never forget the way that looks. Or the way he smelled. Like a little boy; all peanut butter and play forts and popsicles.

It's the first nights after his dad moved out when I watched him walk from door to door at bedtime, just to make sure we were all locked up tight.

I have these with all three of my kids; those moments not captured on film.

Like the time we were in a car accident; The airbag dust had settled, and we'd determined no one had been seriously hurt. The police and ambulance had arrived, we were all standing on the side of the road, and I looked over to see Jack holding Ella in his arms, whispering to her that everything would be okay.

The time Connor had surgery and Ella got her entire kindergarten class to make a big get-well card. She'd written I Love You in big, bubble letters and when she handed it to Connor, he had blinked back tears and whispered "thank you."

The trip to Atlanta, when all three kids fell asleep, their heads on each others shoulders.

But I digress. These are the unplanned moments. The memories we don't realize are being made until after they happen.

I was talking to a friend the other day, who is going through a divorce. He mentioned that looking back, he can certainly recall good times they shared. The photographable moments. The requisite "romantic getaways," the family trips, moving days. And I realized as he was talking, that these in between moments are also very apropos to relationships. Sure, we've got our wedding photo in a frame, the ten-year anniversary trip to Mexico, births, and first-times galore. But what about those in betweens? If only we knew how very important those moments really are.  More important, maybe, than the manufactured ones. For these moments - these in betweens - are where the living is. The magic, really, that makes it all worthwhile.


  1. Beth--I think this would make a wonderful essay for a magazine, like Sasee. It's an idea I had not thought about...

    1. I was thinking about this... but then remembered that I did write an article for sasee (empty case, full life) - last December... had a very similar theme. But... maybe different enough... I'll have to look at her 2014 calendar!

  2. I agree with Sioux. The older I get, the more I want to hold on to all of those memories...and I want to continue making them. It's not about the toys and clothes and's about being together and knowing that we all have each other. Beautifully done, my talented daughter:)

  3. Thisis such a poignant and beautifully written post. It made me tear up remembering.

  4. My, my, that was beautiful. I love those same moments with my loved ones...

  5. Oh, how I love "peanut butter and play forts and popsicles!" I wrote something similar when I got divorced and my ex got to do the fun stuff with the kids...and then I realized I really did get the most precious moments. It's something all mothers can relate to!