I want to show you a photo my brother posted on Facebook this morning.
It is impossible for words to express how much I adore this picture, which mush have been taken this summer, if only because the ROTC has taken my oldest nephew’s hair since school started. I like to think about how my brother’s great grandchildren might look at this picture, should they find it, fifty or sixty years from now. I mean, I think of it in comparison to the photos I have of my great grandparents, with only Teckla smiling, the rest looking so damn dour.
And I hope they appreciate the strain of silliness in our family. I hope they look at this picture and imagine that we were ridiculous and playful and, for all our bullshit, beautiful.
This is why I’m trying to be better about having my picture taken, which I hate. Because the people who love you have a.. right may be too strong a word… let’s say the people who love you have a claim worth honoring to mementos of the people they love, even if you are a woman who’s looking more and more like a grouchy German man.
I want old people to be able to point to pictures of me and say “That was my dad’s Aunt Betsy. That must be where you got your curly hair, your love of writing, your fascination with ghost stories.” Or just “That was Aunt Betsy.” Just that is fine. Let me be some familiar stranger with a friendly smile.
And let them delight that we were alive once and silly, you know?