April 21, 2003
Photo Shortage

I don't have many Easter pictures of The Tots, apparently.

I thought I did. I spent a good chunk of this past weekend tearing the apartment apart, looking for a decent Easter photo to scan and post here on the website ... sort of a *Happy Easter! Mom's Too Broke To Send You A Real Easter Present This Year, So She's Putting You On The Website Again!* holiday greeting to the residents of TicTac. Most of Saturday and Sunday were spent flipping through baby books ... digging through the box of photos my mother gave me for my birthday, a couple of years back ... rooting through shoeboxes and shopping bags and ratty old hanging files ... even checking the bloated *FootNotes* archives, just in case I'd posted an Easter photo in the Memory Books, sometime in the past five years, and then conveniently forgotten about it.  

To no avail.

Specifically, I was looking for an Easter morning photo of all three of them together: preferably very young, preferably wearing jammies, preferably covered in enough chocolate to open a Willy Wonka franchise. But my search turned up surprisingly little in the way of useable Easter material. I've got tons of pictures of all three of them at Christmas, grimacing in unison in front of assorted family Christmas trees. I've got birthday photos up the wazoo ... mostly featuring the three of them clustered around a lopsided Duncan Hines double-layer. I've got first-day-of-school photos, and Halloween photos, and Look Mom! We're jumping into the deep end again! swimming pool photos.

But no pictures of all three of them together on Easter morning.

Kyle, Easter 1987       Kacie & Jamie, Easter 1987 at Great-Grandma St. John's

It's not that such pictures don't exist. They do.  I know that for a fact ... mainly because *I* am the one who got up every year on Easter morning and took the pictures. (Just as *I* am the one who sent the finished film to the drugstore ... the one who paid to have the pictures developed ... the one who meticulously labelled the back of each photo, once they came back from the developer, before mounting them in the archive-quality family photo album, complete with amusing captions.) I close my eyes now, and I can actually see those Easter pictures in my head. But like so many things I left behind when I ran away -- my junior high school diaries, Grandma's Forget-Me-Not quilt, the set of Mary Poppins books, my first wedding dress -- most of those family photo albums remain in the custody of my ex-husband.

(More accurately: they remain in my ex-husband's attic ... along with my junior high school diaries, Grandma's Forget-Me-Not quilt, the set of Mary Poppins books, my first wedding dress.)

Late Sunday afternoon, I finally came up with one nice Easter picture of the girls. They're sitting under a tree in my grandmother's front yard, during a break in the annual family Easter egg hunt, circa 1987. As Tot photos go, this one is very sweet. It's a beautiful, sunny spring day, and the girls are sitting close together, as though they actually like each other ... charmingly Olsen-Twinlike in their matching bangs and their pastel sweats. The problem is that this photo could have been taken on virtually any sunny, springlike day in 1987: there is nothing special or significant about it to suggest that it's an Easter snapshot. They're each holding a paper shopping bag -- which *I* happen to know are filled with candy and hard-boiled eggs and more of that stoopid plastic green grass that wraps itself around the brush shaft of your vacuum cleaner, shorting out the motor -- but to the casual observer, they simply look like a couple of young shoppers, tuckered out after a long day of pricing Barbie cars. I also found an adorable picture of one-year-old Kyle, taken that same year, wearing the straw cowboy hat his Easter goodies came in ... but once again, unless you're the proud doting mom who pointed the camera and pushed the shutter, you couldn't tell that it was an Easter picture. You would just think it was a incredibly cute picture of a incredibly adorable baby boy, wearing an incredibly dorky cowboy hat.

Still ... any Easter pictures are better than no pictures at all.

Of course, by the time I'd finished searching and sorting and pulling my hair out, trying to come up with the perfect photo for the website, Easter was practically over. Too late to post that *Next Year I'll Buy You Each An Easter Pony! I Swear!* journal entry. (They're just going to have to settle for a phone call ... and maybe a corny Blue Mountain e-card, if I have time.) Even so, I suppose there are worse ways to spend an Easter weekend than looking at your children's baby pictures. It reminds me how sweet and small and uncomplicated the three of them used to be, once upon a time. It reminds me, too, that there is no reason I can't build myself a brand-new photo album, using the box of photos my mother gave me ... not to mention all of those pictures stuffed into shoeboxes and shopping bags and ratty hanging files.

And it definitely reminds me that I need to pay a visit to my ex-husband's attic one of these days.

I found one of all three Tots together

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