Listen – and you will learn.
I was sitting in my bedroom chair, knitting Holden’s birthday afghan. The girls had been knitting with me, working on their projects. It was getting rather late and the girls were done for the night. After putting their knitting away, they began to wander around my bedroom and ended up at the dresser, focusing on a dear shell-encrusted box Josi had made for me years ago.
“Mom, what’s your favorite piece of jewelry?”
I answered that it was my bracelet with all of their names on it. That elicited no response from them.
“Look at Greyson! He’s so small! He’s got so much hair. I wanted to sit on the big monkey. Next time I’m going to sit on it. Can I, Mom?”
This conversation was going back and forth between the girls and there was so much laughter in their voices. I realized the picture they were looking at was the one taken at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I continued to knit, counting out my pattern, but listening.
“Where’s Mom?” asked Aubry.
“She’s taking the picture,” said Josi, with total authority.
“Hey, look at Holden. He looks just like Mom,” observed Josi.
I was “kind of ” paying attention, but now I focused my listening and could feel that Mark, on our bed with his laptop, had become an interested observer as well.
“Do you think so? Yeah, it’s him. Looks like Mom,” said Aubry.
Very interesting, especially because we always hear how Holden resembles Mark. They moved onto our wedding picture, their comments full of derision; too romantic for them… The girls were having a big time looking at the pictures.
“Look at Mom! She’s so little!” said Aubry.
I knew there wasn’t a picture of me as a little girl on the dresser. “What are you looking at?” I asked.
Aubry picked up the pictures, framed together and connected by a pewter hinge in the center. (These are two of my favorites, done in sepia.)
“Who do you think it is?” I asked the girls.
“It’s you. She has blond hair,” said Josi, referring to the pictures.
“Look closer. Who do you see?” I asked.
“Awww, she’s so cute! Mom, it’s you,” said Aubry.
“Honey, it’s not. It’s you.”
“No, it’s not! My hair isn’t blond.”
The girls took the picture over to Mark for confirmation. He told them the pictures were of Aubry.
“Aubry’s hair is brown,” insisted Josi.
“Yes, it is – but the sunlight is on her hair, making it shine,” I said.
“Her skin isn’t brown. She’s light,” said Josi.
“Let me see,” said Aubry. “No it isn’t.”
“The pictures were taken in the early Spring, before you had a chance to be tan. And sweetie, that’s my dress you were wearing.”
I loved the excitement in her voice, the emotion that welled up from the realization that I had kept something of mine to give her, to share with her. “Yep – from when I was a baby. My grandmother made it for me. It was one of my favorites and I saved it for you girls.”
“Are you sure it’s Aubry?” Josi asked, still doubtful.
“It sure is,” I said.
“Why was she bent over like that?”
“She was looking for fairies.”
“Yep. It’s Aubry; she always looked for fairies,” says Josi. “Did she ever find any? I mean, really?”
I looked over at Aubry, who was full of joy, her smile coming through her eyes and answered, “She sure did.”