The Cutie with the Blonde Mop of Hair

I am cleaning out my apartment today, purging things I no longer need, anticipating the move I will make in two months to a nicer, more quiet neighbourhood. I’ve stumbled upon a little pile of candid photos of my mom that date back as far as the late 40’s when she was simply a little wee thing.

In one particular photo, she is around three years old. She’s sitting in her aunt’s lap in a meadow, her socks pulled up over her shins. She has on a white dress with modestly puffy short sleeves, and a simple Peter Pan type collar. The dress falls half way between her knees and her hips, and though the photo is faded, I can make out a bit of a flower pattern on the fabric. One of her arms reaches down, fingers wrapped around her aunt’s thumb, while the other arm is extended out in front as though she’s about to shake the hand of an approaching visitor.

I know she is actually pointing at something. I know this because this is the way my mom would motion for me to behold something that interested her. She has a mop of curly white-blonde hair, and fine light haired eyebrows. Her brows are furrowed as if it is too sunny, but the sky in this photo is overcast. Her cheeks are still a little chubby, still baby-like.  Her mouth looks rather cherubic, a trait she’s carried with her all her life. The face she is making, is a discerning expression that I can identify with to this day as one of quiet knowing. I can recognise and feel many characteristics that I’ m familiar with in her.

For brief moments as I look at these photos, I see parts of myself and realise just how bound together the two of us are.   It’s slightly strange to look at my mom in pictures before I knew her, before she even knew herself! It’s like putting one hand in cold water and the other in warm; both very familiar, yet there exists a detachment.

Now my mom is well into the throes of dementia and she’s back to that place in the photograph. She’s like a child – merely existing, reacting to her surroundings. Only unlike a child, she’s not learning this time around. And as I sit here, hating the sound of my own weeping, I am thankful for how much of her own life she provided to me. She created me and molded me; my mother, the cutie with the blonde mop of hair. She is an unbelievable, wonderful woman.

I suppose I better get back to cleaning now…

Last 5 posts by Michelle Shannon