Monday, March 5, 2012

Frozen Moments

I flipped through the pictures stored on my phone. Frozen moments slid across the screen. Smiling faces, scrumptious dishes, shoes, houses, friends, parties flew at the touch of a finger. My finger stopped, frozen.

A small circle with a sideways triangle covered a picture of Joseph standing in the middle of a blue sea of spongy ground. Taking a deep breath, I pushed the button and watched.

An eighteen month old Elizabeth in a sagging green and white striped onesie splashed through a water fountain, shrieking in delight. Joseph, his shorts below his knees, followed her more cautiously. He smiled into the camera, his grin splitting his face.

I heard my voice calling to them, laughing with them. I panned the camera around to Chad.

"Check out the kids, baby."

He smiled into the camera, the smile of a husband to his wife, the smile of a father watching his children.

I moved back to Joseph and Elizabeth where they romped and played. I laughed and giggled with them. The picture froze.

My heart racing, I slid my fingers across my phone again. I pushed a button I hadn't had the heart to touch in almost a year.

"I don't know guys," I said from behind the camera, "since we're going for a drive, maybe we should go to the beach." I watched the faces of the kids buckled in the back seat. They looked different to me. Not just younger, but more innocent. My heart stopped as I searched their faces in the small screen of the phone. Did they look more secure?

Panicked, I watched each and every video from Joseph's surprise fifth birthday trip to Legoland. I watched as we ate ice cream in front of Cold Stone Creamery. I watched as we pulled into the theme park, Joseph's shy, questioning look giving way to excitement. I watched as we ate apples and dipped them into whipped cream. I watched as we waved at the camera, smiled in the camera, laughed in the camera.

My head buzzed.

Did they look happier? More secure? More innocent?

The day after the final moments of video were shot, our world broke apart. It cracked like an egg and I wasn't able to fix it. No amount of glue or tape or wire could put it back together again. And no amount of wishing and dreaming could make it whole.

I finished watching, my stomach in knots.

Did they look happier? More secure? More innocent?

I couldn't tell. I want to believe they didn't. I have to believe they didn't.

This post was inspired by the Write on Edge Remembe(RED) prompt featuring a picture of a cracked egg. As always, concrit is appreciated.


Betsy said...

Oh Mandy, HUGE HUG! You're doing everything right, and your kids are going to be fine I just know it <3 You are a great mom

Asproulla said...

That must have been hard to write... but you did it beautifully.

Melanie Pennington said...

Heart wrenching. Searching the past for answers to the present. Hard stuff. Blessings!

My Pajama Days said...

wow - powerful images here and really pulled at the heart strings. i have those moments too when i look at old pictures of my oldest child. i worry - how did this change her? loved your words...and now that it has been 12 years since i divorced her dad, i can tell you that she is the most amazing almost 14 year old ever. Secure. Confident. Happy.

Jesterqueen said...

It's so hard to tell how a divorce will affect children. You've captured your fears and love for them powerfully here, though. And I admire you for hanging on to those pictures and videos with all four of you. Save them, but not for yourself. The kids will enjoy seeing themselves at that age later. And if they do feel cracked, like you do, perhaps seeing that you were still the same loving Mom then as you are now will help them heal.

TMW Hickman said...

It must have been difficult to write this. So much left unsaid, yet so powerful.

Tracy Whitt said...

Gripping, suspensful, heart wrenching. Fantastic weaving of words.

Nancy C said...

I think the repetition really is what triggers my emotional response to this. It's so universal that we all hope, pray, dream that we aren't breaking our children...regardless of circumstances. This makes your piece universal, and so very heartfelt.

mandyland said...

Thanks. I actually liked the way the repetition played out. I wasn't sure I was going to keep it but I felt it gave the piece a bit more beat.

mandyland said...

Thank you.

mandyland said...

I hope so. I truly do.

mandyland said...

I hold fast to that. I see so many children and adults who were not broken by a divorce and have to hope that mine will be two more.

mandyland said...

Thank you.

mandyland said...


mandyland said...

I hope so. I do! And thank you. Some days I really need to hear that. :)