Sooooooo…here I am in my studio with tons of work to do during a pandemic. I work by myself, so technically I’ve been social distancing since 2008. I usually have a building full of tenants though, and I’m used to folks walking in and out to chat as my doors are mostly open. But now the building is empty, as almost all my tenants are either forced out by pandemic mandate or working from home.
I’m finding that it’s really hard to concentrate (even with super-loud music) on Tasks That Must Be Done when the building is so quiet. There should be hair dryers going and voices talking over them in the salon down the hall. There should be people coming in and out to see the tenants upstairs. But it’s quiet. Very. Very. Quiet. It’s just me and the voices in my head and some of them just need duct tape.
I’ve already checked the mail. Looked through my email. Opened up Photoshop to the next file and WOW what’s that random box over there with an envelope of pictures…oh let’s just look through those…who knew that a random envelope could hold so many treasures. Dozens of pics of my kids from years ago amassed for my youngest son’s 4th Grade Celebration. Christmas and travel pics, and a shot of my dad (now passed away) having lunch with Seth at school in kindergarten. Mere documentation of ordinary moments on my part, but when mom’s a photographer, there was almost always a camera. Frozen smiles saying “cheeeeeeeez” led way to lots of sports events, and then to teen years and their friends, until the smiles become more forced, with eye rolls and “dammit mom, seriously??” (And yes, I always backed off. Well usually.)
Now that my kids are older (I now have a bonus son-in-law) and spread out with homes of their own, to look through this envelope today is to magnify emotions fraught with pandemic overtones. Until I come across a pic of Seth with his kindergarten buddy, Carter. Those little dudes were the best of buddies who loved all sports and have March birthdays. These two are now college roommates, fraternity brothers and will both graduate from VA Tech in May 2020 with job offers in place. This seemingly simple image from 17 years ago of 2 little guys still with baby teeth now holds an abundance of shared history, fun, homework, laughs and stories needing alibis.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It is truly the ordinary moments that document extraordinary lives. Take the pictures. Keep and share them. Print them. Maybe you do nothing else with them until someday when you need a welcome distraction from Tasks That Must Be Done and a “look what I found” moment. My tenants will be back soon, but for now, a quiet building yielded a much-needed boost of Momma-love before attempting the to-do list, yet again.