20 December 2011

Freeze frame

Kim asked me the other day, what image I have in my mind when I think of Mom. And you know, it's funny -- when I try to picture my Mom, I can only picture Kate.

I think there are two reasons: First, my Mom hated to have her picture taken. So although we certainly have plenty of memories captured on film, there is no one, single enduring image for me that says "Mom" -- at least, not from the past few years. And second, as Kate grows up, she is beginning to look just like her.

My Mom's aunt says Kate is this generation's "Montgomery child" -- the one that looks (and acts?!) most like the Montgomery family. And you know, it's uncanny -- photos of my grandfather, my mother, me, Kate: at any given age, but for the quality of the print, they might as well be photos of the same person.

I didn't notice it so much at first. Life had been trucking along for a while, and some of my emotions had calmed down, when I took Kate to see Peter Pan a few weeks back. Afterward, we went out for a treat, and as she swung 'round and 'round on the soda fountain stool, I snapped her photo. And when I got home and looked at it again, I froze. Because there was my Mom, smiling back at me.

We had the fortunate opportunity to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary with them at Christmas in 2009. In preparing for that special night, we put together a slide show from their lives, set to music, starting with a few childhood photos and moving quickly into their late teens, when they first met. One picture in particular stands out for me: Mom in an orange-ish blouse and 1968 hairdo, her whole face lit up in a smile. It's one of the nicest photos we have of her, and to me, one of the prettiest.

And the photo I took here, in 2011, perfectly matched the one of my Mom, snapped 43 years earlier.

In a bittersweet turn of events, we updated that slideshow for Mom's memorial service. The images and music that were such a source of joy just one year before were instead a poignant reminder of what we were now facing. As the family gathered in Chicago last January, struggling with our loss, we began to go through photos to find a few more of my Mom that could be shared.

And wouldn't you know? The very last photo we have of her, taken one year ago this Christmas Eve, is a photo of her and Kate, together. One Montgomery generation and the next. I know that photo will never mean quite as much to Kate as it does to me, but I also know that it will always be special, and we will talk about it for years to come. And as those years pass, I know too that I am blessed, because my images of my Mom will never fade. 

All I have to do is look at her granddaughter.

1 comment:

theintospective said...

Definitely a resemblence...see I told you she lives on!