This was Christmas morning, 1988. And a million things have changed since this picture…
You’re no longer a preacher’s wife. We don’t live in Alabama anymore. Alf is off the air, and reality TV became a thing. The two older brothers have kids of their own now (I just have a beard). Dad passed away from ALS, and you got remarried. I moved to Atlanta, you to Kentucky. I told you I was gay. And our politics—they’re quite different now too.
But I’m glad this picture exists, mom, because I hate how much I’ve forgotten.
I hate that we only remember the really bad things and the really good things from childhood. Kids aren’t very good at noticing the stuff in between. It’s easy to forget how much you cared, but this picture reminds me…
It reminds me that you cared enough to buy that poinsettia.
You cared enough to put red and green in those candlesticks.
You cared enough to put that red bow on that duck’s neck.
You cared enough to hang that wooden Rudolph.
You cared enough to put that little ceramic nativity there, making sure your boys saw Jesus as the center of it all.
And you cared enough to pause and take a picture of your three little loves.
Eight-year-olds don’t notice that stuff, but 35-year-olds do, mom. I see your love in all those little Christmas details.
Life has happened. Our souls have endured. The world’s gone mad, it seems.
And though we’ve differed and disagreed, I have never questioned your love.