By: Jennifer Morriss – Statesboro
When a friend of mine called to let me know about this contest, I thought I?d never have time to get it done. She phoned me at noon, and the submission is due at 5pm.! I went home for lunch still thinking about the essay contest but, not really considering it. While heating up my leftovers in the microwave, I looked around my kitchen at all the Lori Grice photos. I walked into the dining room to peek at some more.
?Wow, that one of us together walking in the garden is so beautiful. It is truly a piece of art.? I say to myself.
Then I pass the black and white picture of my little baby, bare bottomed. She is swatting at bubbles, and I remember blowing them for her during that photo shoot.
I say out loud;
?How could I even pick just one!??
I hear the ding of the microwave and walk back into the kitchen. As I stir last night?s lima beans, I wonder which picture has the most ?sentimental? feeling for me.
I sit at the kitchen table and look up.
I have a three panel frame of my daughter, Bella, wearing a pale green dress. The dress was gift from my mother for Easter. We saved it to have her picture taken by Lori because we loved it so much! I remember that day well. I recall having to give my 18 month old little girl ?Smarties? candies to keep her still enough to take her picture. (Lori always thinks of the small things that really help!)Even as a baby she has had such an excitement for life, and it was so hard to keep her in one place in that beautiful garden.
As I scan the three photos, I stop at the last one and I feel that tightness in my throat.
I feel the mist in my eyes.
This is the picture.
It is the one I always go back to.
150 words couldn?t cover the happiness I feel when I see that photo. EVERY time I see it, the image brings a smile to my face. It is a picture of Bella smiling with her hands beside her cheeks. It wouldn?t be the most technically perfect picture. It wasn?t the one we bought the wallets for family members; it wasn?t the one you would have chosen to have done in oil and hang over your mantle?.
It is a candid shot. Most people would probably wonder why her hands are by her face.
But , I remember why and I always will.
Bella?s favorite things are animals. She has been obsessed with them since she was a baby. At an early age we taught her animal sounds. Her favorite one was the tiger.
She would curl her little fingers up beside her face, like claws?and let out her best growl. It sounded more like a squeak than any growl. But she would giggle and laugh so hard every time. Lori snapped the photo at the perfect moment for me. It captured the smile Bella gave right after she so proudly showed off her tiger impression. This photo shows her precious fingers by her glowing face and her famously contagious smile. Everyone that sees the framed photos agrees that that isn?t necessarily the best photograph in the trio, but it is so Bella. I will have that moment in my heart forever. Because that photo, shows my daughters true personality. Everytime I look at it I can remember my little girl making a tiger noise and then hear her sweet laugh.
Our family will never forget how Bella used to make silly animal sounds, and now I have a picture to remind me, every time I step into my kitchen. Somehow it makes eating leftover lima beans for lunch seem a little more fun.