, Newburyport, MA

June 19, 2013

Parent Pill: Capturing the moment ... or not

Parent Pill
Sue Tabb

---- — I recently attended a graduation party for my neighbor’s daughter. It was a fabulous party for a fabulous girl that concluded with a fabulous video of fabulous photos set to fabulous songs.

It was a touching tribute and so well-done, but I have to admit I went home feeling like Brick from the show “The Middle.” In a recent episode, he is reminded that he was voted class historian and charged with the task of creating a photo montage of his classmates through the years. Trouble is he didn’t take any pictures. Oops! (Brick with a blank screen behind him: “I could show you all pictures of your time here at Orson Elementary, but those would be my memories, not yours. ... So sit back and enjoy a musical montage of all your best memories artfully put together in your own imagination ...”)

Now before you judge, I have lots of pictures, I really do. I have fuzzy pictures of dance recitals, shots of the kids in the rain at the bus stop and 417 “selfies” of my oldest daughter on my iPhone. I have photos still in envelopes falling out of a cabinet in my den and lots of videos on some outdated beta tapes. I have some great pictures taped onto the kids’ homemade “timelines” that were part of a school project, and I have some furled-up photos of the kids at Disney World in a desk drawer.

My friends have video collages, slideshows and digital photo albums. They have wine tags showcasing their kids’ milestone moments. They have key chains and necklaces engraved with their children’s names. I have a mug I got at a mall kiosk that is faded and missing the handle. I think my kids are on it, but I can’t tell for sure.

I want to start a club for “Mothers With Good Intentions.” We all mean well, we just don’t necessarily get the results. If you’re an MGI like me, you have baby books that are stuffed full of pictures and sonograms and locks of hair, but they just aren’t, well, artfully composed. But really, I can see the first clip of hair just fine through the wrinkled Ziploc bag. And my ultrasound results weren’t very clear 13 years ago either. I thought I was having a boy. His name is Emma.

I do have several dozen images of the girls “photo bombing” what otherwise might have been a meaningful picture that I might have been able to use in something like, oh, let’s say, a graduation video. Based on my current photo inventory, I may be supplementing said video with pictures of Sophia Lucia doing 55 consecutive pirouettes because, ironically, I have every single one of those captured in painstaking detail. I also have 27 pictures of Chloe from “Dance Moms,” who will likely make a cameo appearance, as well. She looks enough like my oldest daughter. I can always Photoshop a diploma into her hand.

So maybe our photographs are less organized and less meaningful and less plentiful, but I have good intentions, darn it. Yes, ours is a haphazard and random collection of milestone moments, but there’s something sort of touching about seeing the YOLO peace sign behind Nana in that Easter Sunday photograph. Now imagine hearing Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” playing in the background. Pretty good, right?

So maybe for our family, that is the best it’s going to get. But we can do this. I have a few years to prepare, and I’m going to amaze everyone. I am going to produce a remarkable photo montage that will impress my family, my friends and even my neighbor who does everything so fabulously. They are going to see that even MGIs can surprise you when they really put their mind to something ... or secretly hire someone else to do it.

Walt Disney himself once said: “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”

Maybe, but I have to figure out how to download them onto my computer first. Let the challenge begin!


Sue Tabb is an account director with Thomson Communications and a freelance writer. She lives in Newburyport with her husband and two daughters. You can visit her blog at