This was how I wanted to remember her. Even though, at so and so years old, wanting to run off and play. Freezing for a dozen pictures sounded more like torture than a distant memory that I would cherish. A memory that I coddle like Teeny the tiny hamster, perched upon my palms. A moment that I prepared to lunge and grab if it came too close to scurrying away. I hope that the eye rolls and the whining, while she squinted to get the picture just right translated in some way to “I Love You’s”. I hope that all the groans and rushing off to someone else translated in some way to “I never want to lose you” and that she knew that I loved her with all my heart.
As the years passed by, the squinting progressed into an honest inability to see. Her fingers no longer had the dexterity to push the buttons on that darn camera. It was too late to teach her to use a smart phone and standing long enough to herd us all together for a picture was practically an impossible feat.
In less time than I realized, I became the one that wanted to capture every moment together. I was the one that pushed her to smile for my camera, who recorded all of our adventures, even if it only took place in the comfort of our living room.
In less time than I realized, the circle of life had made its complete circle. I was making jokes and tricks to try and get her to eat as much nourishment as possible. I was changing her soiled clothing. I was comforting her when she was having a tantrum.
I loved her even more then. In all those moments, I realized how unconditional love can really be. How much of the extra means nothing, when you are focused on the happiness and well being of the people you hold dear.
But, this is how I really want to remember her. Chasing us around to capture a glimpse of our happiness. The love in her effort. The care in her intent. Squinting to get the picture just right. Standing strong for all of us to remember.