The Photo I Didn't Take

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life2 Comments

This week, Dan and I are away on a vacation, the first one with just the two of us since, oh, roughly 2002, save for one night in San Francisco back in '06 and one weekend in Stillwater last December. Because my children won't be with us every waking moment, I decided to re-run some blog posts about them, a few of my favorites from the past 6 years. 

Originally posted on November 9, 2011

Last Sunday just before lunch, Coleman is sitting up at the kitchen counter, struggling with some math homework that to be honest with you, neither me nor Dan are really all that qualified to offer any helpon.

I mean, come on—we were journalism majors.

Enter Aidan Zielske, a girl whose most excellent math skills did not come from my side of the family, and for some reason she seems to understand reasons why x equals y, or why two trains can leave the station and arrive at different times.

Cole was working on mean, median and mode problems, and Aidan stepped up to offer her help.

I sat there at the kitchen table, where both Dan and I were immersed in various online/computer tasks (me, watching the live feed of the New York City marathon on my iPad; he looking through email and planning his week ahead on his MacBook.)

As I watched Aidan leaning into Cole, helping him to understand the problems he was working, I gently kicked Dan's shin from underneath the table, and nodded for him to look at the two of them together, working. I mouthed the word, "Adorable." He smiled at them warmly, and nodded.

I thought, "I should go get my camera before this moment is gone," but then I decided to just let the moment live and be, and that I would commit it to my occasionally less-than-trustworthy memory.

It is the photo I didn't take that's now hopefully tucked into a small corner of my collective memory.

I hope it remains, so I can pull it out in the years to come, to recall the sibling kindness, the genuine concern of one helping the other, and the genuine appreciation of being on the receiving end of that help. I hope I can see them in my mind's eye, at 15 and 12, when the size difference was still pronounced, but the bond that sometimes gets a bit hazy in their present era seemed to offer a brief but distinct shine.

I don't always need to regret the ones that got away when I have words instead of pixels.


What about you? What are some of the photos you didn't take? How have you committed them to your collective memory?

Cathy ZielskeThe Photo I Didn't Take

2 Comments on “The Photo I Didn't Take”

  1. #1
    Liz, Melb, Australia

    Oh yeah, that’s a keeper. I agree. It’s the stories we tell around the table, in the car, over the phone. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE PHOTOS. I love scrapbooking, but it’s the memories I’m keeping and sometimes words are all I need.
    Hope you’re enjoying lots of marvellous new memories on your break!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *