For Mom

By Dee Orr

Photos – snap shots – are a passion of mine. I’ve spent a lifetime preserving such meaningful events as the postman’s new mail truck, the color of our house shutters, or a neighbor’s do-it-yourself hair cut. There are those who would swear that I have a picture of every meal our family has eaten. I just love taking pictures. One glance at our many, many photo albums and there’s no doubt as to how much I love my family and friends. It’s quite possible that I alone have been the financial stabilizing factor behind George Eastman’s brain child.

Recently I took stock of our vast collection of pictures, and oddly, it sent me into a deep funk. Who in the future would ever want the bazillion photos of our family? With only one child, exactly how many pictures does she need of her dad and dog mowing the lawn and, my word, how many school busses did she board? Pondering such questions, especially ones of such depth, sent me into a sobbing that only Mexican food could stop. Long live chips and salsa and a patient husband!

I was still obsessing over the photos and their future when our daughter came for a vacation. I gave her a few days to relax before I asked her what she thought would happen to the volumes and volumes of celluloid memories surely to be tossed and forgotten the second I passed from this earth. Was that guilt or what! In hopes of soothing my worried soul, she returned home with every album documenting her thirty-nine years of life, vowing, of course, to treasure each picture forever.

My spirits lifted. Over the next months, every time she called we would talk about various pictures depicting the different stages of her life and mine. I sensed she was pleased to have the photos in her possession. We chatted at great length about our favorite mother-daughter pictures, the cost of her college education as compared to mine, our graduation days, even the differences in the price of our first cars. At one point she even mentioned that she might one day set aside some time and make an album of her favorite pictures. I was at peace that our family pictures would survive at least one more generation.

It wasn’t until February when we went north for our grandson’s tenth birthday party that the results of all the reminiscing over the phone was revealed. Arriving mid-afternoon before the family was home from school and work, we settled into our room. Waiting for me on the hope chest was a scrapbook I recognized as one my daughter and I had purchased a couple of years ago. Without even touching it I sensed the love it held. The slightly puffy pages told me that she, an avid scrapbooker, had been hard at work. I did not open it, but waited for what seemed an eternity for her to get home so we could share the moment together.

The experience was ethereal. Page after page, she showed our life together as mother and daughter. With pictures and journaling she paralleled our births, family history, pets, cars, sports, days as biker chicks (that would be bicycles and mopeds), proms, graduations, hair styles, and years of favorite mother-daughter pictures. Together, we laughed over hair styles and fashions, and cried over pets so dear to our hearts that are no longer with us.

The last page was entitled The Ultimate Gift, where she acknowledged that with the birth of her son, she finally understood a mother’s unconditional love. The two pictures spanned thirty years, me holding her after her birth in 1967, and the two of us with her son after his birth in 1997. She told me the scrapbook was a gift of love for her mom. The tears flowed once more as I hugged my child. I have ceased to worry about the future of my family or its pictures.

About this writer

  • Dee Orr Dee Orr is a native Texan, born in Ft. Worth, and a graduate of Baylor University School of Music. Before retiring to the Myrtle Beach area in 1993, she taught middle school music in upstate New York.

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