As children growing up, Vivian and I no doubt had certain advantages over our elder siblings in terms of comforts and opportunities but one thing we missed for some time was getting to know our Mother as “Happy”.
From her late 40s on, Grace suffered from a few medical ailments, including depression for which she had to be hospitalized a few times. Christmas photo after Christmas photo, there were the two of us little girls, Dad smiling but Mom looking thin and desperately grim. It went on for years and years, until I was about 12, when she finally got appropriate medical treatment and became what was to us “A New Mother”. Poor thing: women’s health care needs were so little understood and so horribly neglected, there and then . . . and in many places still.
I remember seeing this photo and loving just how happy Mom, in particular, looked. In fact, everybody but Douglas looks happy in this pic*. Mel and Grace must have been so proud of their beautiful little boys. They surely loved us all (Mom once told me, “Every baby comes into the world with its love in its own little fist”), but the joy of it all wasn’t captured very often in my childhood at least. Well, it was captured here and I love this picture for that reason. Isn’t it terrific?
For me, at least, the “Mother” I really started to get to know at about 12 was an amazing person: intelligent, empathetic, devout, intuitive, curious, engaged, wise and a leader. I will soon be the same age she was at her death and I miss her still.
*Douglas, were you . . . ummm . . . “busy” . . . when the photographer snapped this picture???