I have a sepia tinted photograph of myself as a little baby sitting on my mother`s lap. It is stuck on the inside wall of my cupboard, its edges curling with the burden of the many decades that it has witnessed. It is the first thing I see when I open my cupboard to select my outfit for the day. I peer into the baby’s face to observe if it has any resemblance to the woman that it has now become. Similarly, I look into my young mothers beautiful face to capture what she has carried forward from her youth. The emotion that fills my heart is quite powerful. It is a mix of nostalgia, gratitude and love. The photograph reasserts to me how many years my mother nourished my body and soul and made me the person I am. It is not something that should ever be forgotten. The presence of the photograph in my cupboard helps me reprioritises my goals in life. It shows me the relentless motion of time and what all it changes in its wake. It also teaches me patience…patience to hold my tongue when my mother slows her speech to choose the right word. Wisdom to tame my impatient hands as she works at her pace to finish a job…My mind becomes clearer, as I mull over what to wear..
Alongside this photograph is one of my fathers, who, in passing away in his forties, remained frozen in all the vitality of youth, smiling his beautiful smile, he looks at me benevolently. I remember so many things about him because of that one photograph. His absence feels less stark, his face not a hazy memory but a clear picture. I remember his love for me and meticulous dressing, his penchant for always being on time, his love for a good joke and a hearty laugh…in his own silent way he still guides me..
The others who form this open album on the side of my cupboard are my immediate and extended family. In looking at their photos I remember to thank God for their presence in my life. I smile at the monkey face my son used to enjoy making and the certain angle my daughter always prefers when being clicked….the photograph of my brothers with their arms protectively around me shows me that the most precious thing in my cupboard is also the most intangible….