My mom had flown in from Colorado -- because she moved there this summer -- to be here for Halloween and to see the kids in their costumes, but we made the decision a couple of hours before the scheduled start time to forgo the pageantry of our local neighborhood and reschedule for the next day, even though that meant my mom would miss it.
It was a stupid choice, as the weather halted it's doom for the amount of time we'd have been out anyway, but the kids had fun saying hello to the stragglers who did appear looking for treats and they didn't even notice that we never carved the pumpkins, either.
At one point, my mom quietly asked me if I'd take pictures of her with the kids. In all honesty, I found the request slightly annoying for more reasons than I'm at liberty to divulge, but I grabbed the camera anyway and busied myself with her slightly fancier than my point-and-shoot get up and snapped away as she read them the Halloween books she'd brought as a present on our window seat, built for pretty much this exact purpose. I took pride in knowing my home well enough to balance the light and get attractive angles (at least I think I did -- I haven't seen the photos I took and I'm by no means a photographer) and I hope I obliged her request, even if I did have to caveat that she wasn't at liberty to publish most of them on social media because Kiedis was in his underwear and we do have family rules about that sort of thing, since Mommy's a blogger and all.
We traveled to the local hippie village for our Trick or Treating in part because of the idyllic setting -- brightly painted old houses and a quaint downtown with fully mature trees interspersed, putting on display their full array of colors. The village is my autumn happy place, and has been ever since I could drive myself out there. But we also picked it because it was the next convenient time and would get it out of the way of the rest of the plans we had for the weekend.
And it did not disappoint, despite half of the damn county it resides in having the same idea we did.
I only took my phone (my replacement one, freshly booted with barely half of my usual crap uploaded onto it) because it's honestly the best camera I have, the one I work with (if you can call it that) most often, even if my subjects don't always contain themselves to it's parameters.
The kids did well, grasping the idea quickly, albeit with some hesitation, and most people seemed pleased to see their costumes of admirable moral characters, modestly homemade like many of the local children.
And as I watched half though my phone screen and half through my actual eyes, a sadness creeped into my usual internal monologue about angles and light and composition and tap tap tap burst shot please let one of these be good enough to Instagram tap tap tap.
I turned to Kyle a step behind me and quietly asked him if he could take the pictures for once, so that I may be in them to prove I was there, that I am there.
And he sighed a short annoyed sigh, and obliged.
His phone is less fancy than mine and his hand is less steady. I don't think he looks through a lens like I do -- I'm piecing together the parts of a story, trying to capture in pixels what I can't in words and he, I think he just grabs a moment before it's gone and that's good enough, for the most part.
So, for a night, it was good enough for me.
I think by now we've all read the post about the mother who was never in the pictures because she didn't like the way she looked. I think that may be some of the reason why I don't remember my mother being in photos with us -- but she was also always the one taking them, always trying to catch with film the fleeting moments of our youth as they paraded past us all.
And now I take the photos not just for me, or for them, but for an audience, and as I am the one who cares about how they look the most, it is up to me to take them.
But it's just as important for me to be able to show them that I was there too, not always buried in my phone or my computer. I want them to see that all of this, it became for them as soon as that second blue line appeared on each pregnancy test. I want them to see their childhood memories not just through my quasi-curated lens, but how it was -- blurry, unfocused, in motion, yet happy.
And I want them to know I wasn't afraid to be in the photos, to be seen with them.
Because someday, these words and pixels will be the gaps that fill the inbetween of their memories, and I want them to see us, all of us, together, living and loving each other where we are right now and how we live now, without editing. I want them to see us all young and and inexperienced and to watch us grow as a family no matter how messy it gets. I want them to see us without filters and beyond curation, but as we are, as we will be, as we were, because someday I hope they will want to know us as people beyond being those who gave them life and raised them.
I want them to be able to see a blurry photo of a streak of purple hair amidst a sea of fallen foliage and say hey, I remember that and for me to say yeah, me too.