The other day, as I was trying to nurse Lucy down for a nap, she became distracted by a photo, from our wedding day, on the shelf behind me. She was determined to get her hands on it so instead of fighting a losing battle, I picked up the frame and began naming each person as I pointed to them. “This is nana and poppa, grandma and grandpa, cousin Grace, aunt Tina…”
It is a favorite photo of mine, not only because it was taken on such a happy day, but also because it combines our two families. On good days, days of beautiful beaches, dazzling sunsets, good friends, and cold Toñas, I see joy in that photo. I see the coming together of two families. I see a combined total of over 75 years of wedded bliss. I see my darling niece and my adorable nephew. On good days, when I look at that picture, I see what makes us whole.
But on tough days – days when the power goes out, the mosquitoes are out in force and the heat index is off the charts, I see only what I am missing, what Lucy is missing. Taken almost 4 years ago, the photo is now outdated – missing our now two year-old niece and nine and a half month-old nephew, our soon-to-be brother-in-law. On tough days, I see a hole.
This afternoon, Lucy reached for the photo again. Intellectually, I knew that she was really just reaching for something on which to chew. Emotionally, I saw her reaching for a good day.
There are good days and there are tough days. Today I saw what makes us whole.