The Baby Picture

On a warm humid night an old woman walks on squeaky floorboards, passing open windows, the moon watching down.

Sleep eludes her in this quiet house with its good bones and memories keeping watch over her shoulder.  She stands on shaky tip toe, pulling a box down from a high closet shelf.  She sits on her bed and opens that box, spreads photos on the bedspread, spreads her heart out right there on the cotton while the moon watches down.

Her fingers pull the dog-eared corner of a baby picture.  And as she smoothes the years and dust from its surface her heart catches in her throat and she turns her head expecting to see that cradle and that babe asleep in the corner, right there under her moon watching.

Rare & Beautiful Treasures

The picture is so vivid she smells his skin, his breath, as though 60 years have not passed, as if she might just need to nurse that babe she can feel sleeping in the corner.  Her head is full of cobwebs now but the photograph remembers-fills in each missing piece otherwise lost to time.

So she clutches that photograph to her breast, her heart and lays her head on the pillow; remembers when she slept with that baby and drank in his warmth and dreams while that same moon was watching down.  Those tired years melt together in memory as warm as sun-baked earth and she counts his eyelashes in that picture, each one a blessing still.  Her prayers drifts up on this humid summer night.  The night where she cradles this tiny treasure with the windows open, the moon watching down.

Image: our sweet baby james, 10 months


  1. Thank God for photography because I have so many cobwebs…gorgeous photo Erin…you are so talented. He is beautiful.

  2. My daughter is only 19 but someday I hope she gets to experience a love this full.

    He’s the second most beautiful baby in the world! My 19 year old daughter is the first…for me.

  3. After a night where I swear I only got 15 minutes of sleep that was perfect. I will gladly take a sleepless night with my babe 🙂
    Thanks for the reminder.

    • It’s much easier to be poetic about the sleeplessness once you are past it-thankfully James at 10 months is now a pretty great night sleeper. Hang in there, mama.

  4. You have such a way with words. And every single time I read a post, your words echo throughout my day. I always look so forward to each post you share. Even the simple ones tell such a personal story, and still, one that so many of us can relate to, even if we are not yet there. I hope I will be around long enough to hold such a tender photo and be able to reminisce about all the memories I was around to be a part of. My girls are 6 and 2. It’s easy to forget that all too soon their youth will be a memory to me. This post in a way reminds me to once again, slow down, breath them in as often as possible, bake together more, and let the laundry pile up, even for just the day….It will still be waiting tomorrow.

  5. Here I am at work taking a late break, and now I am trying to hold back the tears. Your words echo into my soul…and you always leave me craving more.

    The picture is exquisite.


  6. Oh, Man! I loved this and FELT it, too. My boys are flying away from the nest and I’m missing them today! Even though I love them as grown and nearly grown men, this brought the tears over missing my baby boys.

    Great piece of writing. Really.


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