This is me.
Well, it’s a painting of me from about a hundred years before I was born, which probably makes me over a hundred years old, and if you click on my Gravatar picture you’ll see just how well I’ve aged, and why I should now be a candidate for one of those Facebook side-bar advertisements, see-this-130-year-old-woman-who-looks-like-a-regular-person…
The reason it is me is because it hangs in our bathroom, and because most of the pictures on our walls are family pictures, for my kids the connection is obvious. And yes, it looks like me. I’ve been fielding questions about this picture since my eldest was old enough to talk:
Mummy why are you wearing a table cloth in that picture? What did you pick up? Where is the pearl now, do we still have it? Why did you wear shoes on the beach? Did the sand get on your feet through the gaps?
For a long time I patiently tried to explain that it’s not me, that it’s a painting of a lady who looks like me, and that we just liked the picture so we hung it in our bathroom. The older two kids get it by now, but the youngest…he’s a different sort all together.
My three-year-old believes exactly what he wants to believe, and woe betide anyone who tries to dissuade him. He doesn’t listen, and he keeps asking until he gets the answers he wants. I’ve given up trying to tell him the truth in some cases, and in regards to the picture I tell him what he wants to hear. I wore a tablecloth that day because I couldn’t find my bathers and I didn’t want to get sunburned. Yes, the sand was hot so I kept my sandals on, and I didn’t mind too much if it stuck to my feet. And yes, I kept the pearl, and it’s the same pearl that’s on a necklace in my jewelry box.
It’s easier. And shorter. He’ll learn one day, I hope.
It makes me wonder though, how much stuff in life have I filtered through my own perceptions? What have I believed because it was what I wanted to believe? What have I disregarded because I’d already made up my mind? We all do it, but It’s still a scary thought. Sometimes we need to sift through the evidence and the memories and open our minds to what may be a different kind of truth, one vastly different to what we’ve understood before. It’s a brave place to be.
My son came in to my study just now with his toy singing chicken and asked me who gave it to him. I told him the truth, we bought it at Ross (a little historic town) in January. He tells me “I like Ross. He’s my friend!”
Great, son. I’m glad Ross is your friend. Maybe we’ll take him with us next time I wear my tablecloth to the beach.