Photograph


This photo was taken last Mother’s Day in my friend Kate’s back yard in Chicago. I was in town that week to help my daughter Hazel move out of the dorm and into her first apartment. We were absolutely exhausted after having to pack up her entire year’s worth of stuff and get it all across town and up a couple flights of stairs. Not to mention trying to clean the dorm room - she and her roommate Libby could give guys a lesson in slovenly bachelor behavior.

All I really wanted to do that day was go to a nice restaurant, or get a pedicure. But Kate had been kind enough to arrange a little concert for me to play and I sorely needed the money. In a way it was typical for me and Hazel to have some bizarre hybrid experience involving me doing a gig. For better or worse that had pretty much been our life together up to this point.

It was tough to get up the energy to strap on my guitar. And my well-meaning daughter had come along to the concert with me (“Sure Mom, I want to see you play”), then passed out in one of the bedrooms upstairs for pretty much the entire set.

Until I started playing “Dancing With Joey Ramone". She loves that song and even sang on the record. As I strummed the opening chords, she came stumbling out of the house in her little plaid coat, took her place beside me and came in right on time. I suddenly felt completely happy.

So why does looking at the picture, and writing about it, make me cry?

It's not the fact that I'm performing in mulch. Or that those jeans are hideously unflattering.

It's how Hazel still looks so much like a kid here(though always more self-possessed than I ever could be). How I used to know every item of clothing in her closet. How I still wonder what exactly it is I'm supposed to be doing, without her around.

Prompted by Sunday Scribblings