I recently accepted a silly Facebook “Challenge” after being tagged by someone. I don’t normally do these things. I don’t like following rules or being told what to post, etc.
I put the word “challenge” in quotes because when I accepted it, it didn’t seem like a challenge at all. A challenge, after all, is something that calls you to a contest in physical strength, intelligence, etc. This challenge read like this:
I’ve been nominated for the 10 day “Class of 2020 Senior Parents” challenge. Every day I select an image from a day in the life of being a Parent of a Senior and post it without a single explanation and nominate somebody each day to take the challenge. That’s 10 days, 10 photos, 10 nominations, 0 explanation. Today I nominate…
Posting pictures of my kids is not hard for me.
Facebook shows me daily in one of my favorite features called “Memories” that I have been posting pictures of them quite regularly for the past 10 years, or at least as long as I have had a Facebook account. Somewhere along the way I started using Instagram too. Prior to that there were slide shows highlighting her on MySpace, and before that there were a host of scrapbooks that I invested way more time and money into than I am willing to admit here.
Challenge? HA! Bring it on.
It was only after the tenth post that I realized that I failed the challenge and most of my sweet friends with their beautiful seniors have too. How? The challenge isn’t posting a picture every day. The challenge is posting a SINGLE picture every day WITHOUT EXPLANATION from the day in the LIFE OF BEING A PARENT OF A SENIOR.
My first failure was obvious. Like everyone else, I could not wait to share the squishy cheeks of her toddler years, the funny picture of my precocious young child, or to relive those right-of-passage moments like her going to her first dance. I shared a couple from this year, but most were memories of life well before I was a parent of a senior. Shoot.
Secondly, oh sure, I posted the same tag line each day only changing the date on the top, the picture, and by tagging a new friend “without a single explanation” …BUT then…. Then as soon as someone commented “how cute”, it was impossible not to reply in detail of what was really going on behind the mischievous smile. Failed again.
And finally, the one rule I should have known would be a problem for me: a SINGLE image each day. What? Have these people no understanding of grand finales and storytelling? Surely day ten should be exempt from this rule. I uploaded not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR images on the last day. I had to really. I couldn’t help it. I mean come on…I write blogs, for the love. I am a storyteller.
While a picture may paint a thousand words, a collage tells a story! And so, on that last day, a grand finale was due. I won’t apologize.
I found the baby portrait of her in her long white day gown with her head turned to the right and her fist tightly clinched. She was looking squarely and innocently into the camera at just five days old. It is the most adorable picture of the most beautiful baby girl ever, not that I am biased in any way.
Then there were the two beach shots. In each of them she is wearing a typical white dress with her face completely hidden, hair battling the wind. In the first one she was just four years old and staring into a blue calm sea, her elbows and feet still pudgy. The second one she was 16 and strong, now staring out into dark and stormy waters on the same familiar beach.
Finally, the fourth picture that was taken just a few months ago. She is on a beautifully wooded sidewalk that is lush and green. Her dress is a long flowing and reminiscent of the others but much more sophisticated. It’s a still shot but you can tell she’s been twirling in circles and laughing with her arms swung wide. Everything about it says she’s ready to take flight…because she is. I love it and it makes me smile every time.
I failed at this challenge in every way, and I don’t care. No one else does either.. Not just because it is a silly Facebook challenge and no one will hold me accountable, but because the premise of it is an impossible task.
To see into the day of the life of being a senior parent is to see the tiny baby, the curious young girl, the stormy teen, and the joyous woman as a single person. It is seeing them all at once over and over again and trying to wrap your mind around the passage of time, emotions, and life – separating out yesterday from today. It is about seeing the beauty in all the failures and remembering the stress, strain, joy, and pride of every photo shoot, event, and undocumented moment. Finally, being the parent of a senior is most definitely reliving those moments with anyone that will listen.