On Tuesday I picked up Noah’s Bar Mitzvah photo album. For those doing the math, it had been 395 days since the blessed event. The lag time had nothing to do with our photographer, Tony Baiada, who was extremely prompt in delivering the proofs and turning around an amazing product once he received our selections. The problem was our selections – which seemed to take a back seat to every other possible activity we could be engaged in during the course of the last year. When I confessed my embarrassment at being so slow on the draw, Tony was completely unphased. It seems that it takes most of his clients more than a year to get their act together and select pictures.
It’s funny how crazy anxious I was in the days following Noah’s Bar Mitzvah to get those proofs in my hands, but my interest fell off the cliff once I went through them. It’s as if I needed immediate reassurance that the day was captured and once I got that, it didn’t matter how quickly, if ever, we got around to choosing images to include in the album. For someone who is very time sensitive on most projects, my indifference on this one perplexed me. Yet, as I thought more about it, my feelings mirrored my habits around everyday snapshots that have been filed on the computer – never printed and rarely viewed. The premise that we NEED these photos seemed to be at odds with the fact that we rarely enjoyed them once taken.
As I drove to pick up the album I wondered whether we should be spending so much money on a photo album for Chase’s Bar Mitzvah, now just a little more than a year away. Maybe the kid would prefer a giant ice sculpture in the shape of a wombat instead? (Chase – if you are reading this post, the above reference is a literary tool for the purposes of humor. The iced wombat is not an option.)
But then I got Noah’s album. And captured in those pages was one of the happiest days of my life when we were surrounded by all the people who were most important to us. In the middle of it was Noah – barely recognizable a year later having grown inches physically and miles emotionally. I had forgotten what he looked like back then.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder – a phrase intended to address relationships with people – but also apropos when it comes to memories. Perhaps there wasn’t enough distance between this wonderful event and me to truly inspire action on my part – until a year had passed. This time frame, I understand, is about the time it takes other parents to complete the same exact task. Are we just all incredibly busy? Or…. are our minds hard-wired in such a way that we engage only when our hearts are fully ripend and ready to really enjoy these memories?
We do NEED these photos – even if we pull them out just once a year or save them for the boys’ college girlfriends to peruse with utter glee. No wombat ice sculpture for Chase. I promised Tony that I would be speedier this time around, but then again, I might just take my time.A cool photo montage from the day can be found here.