This is not a beat-up metal “purse” full of dud photos. These are magical dream wishcards.
I sometimes order prints willy-nilly. When they’re a penny each, sometimes it’s just easiest to order them all and figure it out later. That’s what I did last month. I ordered a couple hundred prints from the last TWO YEARS and then sorted them for distribution when they arrived. (Side note: this is not a good way to handle this. My new process involves uploading just a few from each month that I actually want prints of. But I hadn’t realized that when I was uploading photos in November of 2013. Oops.)
Anyhow, I pulled a reasonable number of pictures I wanted to send to the handful of places I wanted to send them and was left with this huge stack of leftovers. They’re still good pictures, but I have no plans for them, so when the girls asked if they could play with them, I just shrugged and said ok.
They came up with a number of fun and interesting things to do with them, but a few hours later, J started talking to me about “magical dream wishcards.” I figured she was talking about the prints, but I wasn’t sure what, exactly, I was supposed to do with them.
“Mom. I turn all these cards upside down. You pick one and look at it. Then you take it to bed with you and you try and dream about it! And if you start to dream about something else, you just… you push it out of your head with the right dream!”
And it hit me…
Any one of these couple hundred pictures would make a reasonable dream.
I picked one where I was introducing the girls to their brother. But it could just as easily have been one of J and her dad at the zoo. Or K at the museum. Or that one time they were decorating cookies with a friend. Or their brother making a silly face. As far as my four-year-old is concerned, any one of these would make a great dream. Far better than some of the scary ones she deals with on occasion.
I know these photos represent a highlight real of sorts. Not that all of the pictures are of the big moments- most of them are downright mundane. (Lots of pictures of kids in high chairs. Because they’re happy and they’re sitting still.) But they’re at least relatively happy- I don’t tend to take a lot of shots of my kids in time-outs or throwing tantrums or sticking their faces in pubic toilets. Mostly because I’m too busy in those moments to bust out the big camera and document them, but also… who wants to relive that?
But at the same time, what if my kids’ memories work a little like that?
What if your people’s memories worked a bit like that?
Nostalgia can be a bit that way, right? So maybe it’s not out of the question…
I tend to be pretty hard on myself, in general. All I can see is the times I spoke a bit too sharply or wasn’t so present with my kiddos because I needed to check out from all the incessant words for a minute (or thirty.) So when I look at our life together as a whole, I sort of assume that that’s what they’ll remember, too. And this month has been a doozy… a miscarriage and all the ways that’s affected my mothering in the weeks since. A car accident (everyone’s fine, car’s functional) and all the hours of insurance phone calls that the kids have had to wait through. I haven’t been at my best.
But my firstborn’s magical dream wishcards make me wonder…
What if she sees our life that way? What if it’s pretty much all the things that happy dreams are made of? What if she’s gonna be ok and my shortcomings won’t send her to years of therapy? I mean… not that I shouldn’t call my sin what it is and walk toward holiness, but what if there’s enough grace to cover my failings?
What about you?
What things do you tend to be hard on yourself about?
What if your people paid less attention to that than you did? What if they just see you? Showing up, loving them, doing what you do?
What kinds of magical dream wish cards might they be carrying in their heads and hearts? (Snuggles? The way you sing in the car? When you remember their favorite thing and provide it at the right moment? The time you met them for lunch? That time you went on a field trip with them?) You love your people. They can tell. These little moments matter, probably more than we realize.