29 March 2017

More Than Just An Old Faded Photograph

36 years ago, her red Opel cadet broke down and he came to the rescue. 4 years after that, in December, they got married and 13 years later, they had their fourth and final little one- me. Some people call them 'Peter' and 'Sophia' others call them 'sir' and 'ma'am'. Me? Well, I get to call them 'dad and mom'.

I never considered my parents to be in love. Their relationship never matched up to what romantic comedies had brainwashed me to believe was love, but then again, I expected that maybe that's what more than 30 years of marriage would do to a person. Before work, my dad pecks my mom somewhere between her lips and her cheek (and some days are closer to the one than the other). When he returns from work, it's the same. I'd never see them share passionate kisses, or use affectionate terms like 'babe' or anything embarrassing like 'baby-waby-woo' and hardly ever saw a cuddle (which made an odd pinching of the buttocks at breakfast a discombobulating sight). I'd never even heard them say something as so seeming simple as 'I love you'.
Then, I went scouring in a cupboard- which I remember being a light oak colour which has since been partially discoloured by a fine layer of dust. Inside I found an album with this photograph of my parents, before they were anyone's mom and dad, when he was just hers and she was just his. The photograph was taken on the day of my mom's graduation. I was dumb-founded; If I had been standing on a ladder, for all purposes of metaphor, I would have been knocked right off. I realized how my parents had changed- how 30 years, 4 kids, taxes and a business could change a person.

Mom: For starters the person in this photo isn't my mom now. It looks like her, but it's not. In place of the dainty, lady-like red and well manicured nails are now un-moisturized, naked,  half filed and half eaten nails. Her hair is flat now- which is her natural hair minus the perm, but I guess the 80s called for big, curly locks. My mom hates wearing make up. She never wears the stuff... except for an odd dashing of blue on her lids for special occasions, and her almost ritualistic application of a garish red lip that hasn't changed in all 18 years of my life.

 Dad: Wouldn't you say my dad looks debonair? Today, he wore a casual, cobalt blue cotton shirt accompanied by a gentle-cream colored pair of pants. His shirt had several ambiguous splatters and stains varying in size and consistencies. I don't think I've ever seen him in a waistcoat.
This photograph is my favourite because it captures a fleeting moment of my parents in love. My dad is carefully and thoughtfully adjusting my mom's gown with his other hand confidently in his pocket. My mom is reaching for my dad's tie with a nail polish that just manages to compliment the speck of red among the silky blue, even if inadvertently. It's such a natural and loving scene. Maybe it's my favourite because they're not like that anymore.

However, idealization aside, my mom doesn't fix my dad's ties anymore (if he's ever wearing them) and he definitely doesn't tweak a loose shoulder pad here or a button over there when it comes to my mom's dresses (when she's wearing one...which is hardly ever). Instead, I've seen other indications of love; I've seen my dad make tea, every single morning, seven days a week, in all four seasons of the year, for my mom, I've noticed how 'Peter' has shortened to 'Pete' which in my mind is some sort of substitute for another endearing term, like 'babe' and I've heard my mom boisterously demanding that my dad remove his multiple stains from his shirt before heading out, which substitutes the re-adjusting of his tie. 

After 30 years, there's still love...and just to prove it, when I was asleep on a nearby bed, in a hotel recently, awake at a jet-lagged induced, ungodly hour, under the covers of dawn and dew, I heard him whisper to her "I love you".

Till next time-

Please do comment below letting me know what your favourite photograph or memory is. I'd love to hear about it! Also, feel free to share this post on social media or tell a friend (I'd really appreciate either).

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  1. This was so beautiful to read, Steph. I'd be lucky if I found a photo of my mum and dad together as they've been separated for around 17 years now, but one of my favourite old photos is of my sister and I. She must've only been a few months old, which means that I'm 4 or 5, and we're laid on the floor, facing each other with only a few inches between our faces - I've got a huge grin on my face and her mouth is open wide and turned up at the corners. I think it was a signifier that we were always going to be close!

    Olivia - The Northernist x

    1. Thanks Olivia! I'm so glad you liked it!

      That sounds like a special, heart-warming moment that luckily got captured. I'm imagining the cuteness! It's lovely that you and your sister are so close. I've always considered my sisters my best friends.

      Do you think your parent's divorce helped create a stronger bond between you and your sister?

  2. Rather engaging story, actually. I felt like I didn't want the reading to end.😄 Anyways, I find it extraordinary how love can be displayed in unique ways,like a fingerprint. In my opinion, I think it's better that way.😏

    #sweetreats xx www.bakingboutiquebirds.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. I'm so immensely happy that you found it engaging and didn't want it to stop! Love is expressed in countless different ways, which is very special. Indeed, like a fingerprint!

      Thank you! It means a lot that you read my post and left a comment on top of that!

  3. this is so so cute awwww wow.

    1. Thanks so much, Faith!

      This post flowed so naturally when I was writing it! I'm glad you enjoyed it- and that the cuteness of their story shone through.

      Thanks for the comment! It's always appreciated.

  4. awww I always love to see old pictures of the people, they change a lot in the years!
    You make me think that I didn't see any old picture of my parents before having me, I'll had to investigate...

    1. People do change- so much so. However, the changes are small, subtle and unnoticeable from day to day, but when you look back on a year or 10, so much has changed.

      Yes! Please do scour to find old photos! I think you'll enjoy it!

  5. This is such a beautiful post, you are a great writer! The acts of love may change over the time, but the strength of the actual love, will never die, love this! :)

    Heather Xx

    1. Thank you so much, Heather!

      I like that: "acts of love may change...but the strength of the actual love will never die". Lovely words!

  6. This was so nice to read and so beautifully written. I see a lot of similarities in my parents, but their acts of love still remain just in different gestures such as making each other a coffee without needing to ask, giving the other an extra hour in bed by doing the morning chores xx so sweet <3

    Sophia x | http://sophiawhitham.co.uk

  7. That's so sweet! It sounds like their love is definitely alive!

    Thanks for reading, Sophia!

  8. Really cute post! I've nominated you to do The Cramm Award, if you don't have time don't worry about it. But just to let you know :-)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading, Rukiya. I really appreciate it!

  9. I guess I'm a little late to reading this but this is such a beautiful post! Sooo well written with an engaging narrative, I didn't want it to end! Makes for a lovely, lovely read and the message behind it still rings true!(And its such a nice candid too!)

    Ife x



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