The picture is one I struggled to colorize. The girl behind the first row of boys is my mom Carolyn. This photo looks amazingly different with color. She looks amazingly different too; no matter what happened to her later in life, you can see for that moment through her smile and radiant eyes that she was happy.
I wrote something a couple of weeks ago that someone posted anonymously. They asked me to write something personal about life. Instead, my piece was about the tendency to let time gauze over the harsh parts of our stories. While I have no children, I was allegedly once one myself and I learned all the wrong lessons. Most of them didn’t translate into adult behavior or mechanisms to a good life. Earlier this week, I was telling a friend about my chance to skip my senior year of high school and attend John Brown University. It was difficult to attempt to explain that such an opportunity was an impossibility, given my homelife.
While all my missteps and stupidities are mine to own, I do find myself understanding my parents a little more now that I’ve stumbled in lesser ways than they did. It’s harder to be quite so judgmental after recognizing that intentions and actions often don’t coincide. I was no match for them; they were both immature adults pantomiming their lives. That’s not an accusation; it’s a realization.
That my mom had it in her to be as vibrantly happy as she was in the picture softens my criticism of her as a person.
“I brought a _ to a ___fight” was the encapsulation of my childhood in that piece of writing.