“Here,” she’d say and put the album on my lap whether I wanted it or not. “Look at you when you were a baby. You were so cute.”
I was annoyed at seeing the same old family pictures of me in outdated clothing and smiling awkwardly for the camera. My mother always thought I loved looking at myself in my little league baseball uniform or my Cub Scout outfit with all the badges on the shirt.
“Mom,” I’d say nicely at first. “I just want to sit on the chair and relax.”
But she wouldn’t listen as if she had a hearing problem. She kept turning the pages of the photo album expecting me to be interested.
I’d stare at the kid sliding down a snowy hill in a sled and my dad and I standing outside of our duplex apartment with a pair of goofy grins. I painfully looked at my bar mitzvah picture where I stood like a dope in my glen plaid suit not knowing what to do with my hands. All these images were burned forever into my brain.
“You were so handsome back then,” my mother would say, rejoicing over several pictures of me on a scooter. I kept telling my mother that I’ve had enough of the photos, let's see a movie or go out for dinner. But no, she kept showing the damn pictures over again. So each week for a couple of hours, year after year, I was an ungrateful participant right up to the day she died.
The first Mother’s Day after my mother’s death, I wanted to change all that and do something for her to show my appreciation. I went to the living room closet and took out our family album. I blew off the dust and leafed through each picture, careful not to tear the ones that were stuck together. I imagined my mother by my side, hovering over me with a smile and gushing over my baby pictures. I made sure not to get impatient this time.