A photo in the window of time

Opinion Sunday 17/September/2023 17:01 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
A photo in the window of time

I was just leaving the public toilet in a shopping mall and something stopped me. A young man in his late twenties was washing the hands of his daughter and I just could not help but watching them with a smile on my face.

The young man did not think it was amusing because he probably thought it was the invasion of his privacy in a very public place. I was tempted to explain my ‘intrusion’ but changed my mind. Instead, I started walking away and left the toilet. What was in my mind was simple. If a photo was taken of the man bending over his daughter washing her little hands, I bet that photo would be of great sentimental value some 30 years later.

By then, she would probably have her own little daughter and would do something similar. She might also be encouraged to capture the moments before her own children are fully independent. Family traits repeat themselves. But it is the sentimental reason of capturing something so ordinary that would rekindle the memories years later is of essence here.

When I have nothing better to do at home, I go through old albums and looked at the photos of my children when they were growing up. I would pick what I think was the ‘cutest’ and send it to one of them. That is to remind them that their little faces have changed a lot as they go through their years of adulthood.

Time moves on so fast that and like a flash of the lightening, years have rolled by to leave the memories in the mist of time. Of course, parents never learn to let go. That’s why they have the photos in their homes long after their children have flown the nest. Is it just nostalgia? No, it is not.  They miss the time when they could hear small feet running on the corridor or a glass crashing on the kitchen floor.

But sometimes, it goes beyond that. Only a few days ago, my brother-in-law had a heated ‘debate’ with his 92-year old father.

He raised his voice and ‘humbled’ the old man to submission. I am not sure what went on his mind at that time. I am also not sure what went in the mind of his father seeing his son like that. Perhaps he was thinking, this boy, who was once bouncing in the safe net of my protection, is ‘telling me off.’

It goes without saying that there is always a boomerang effect in our lives. History always repeats itself. When you ‘shout’ to your parents, it might come back when one day your own children would do exactly the same. When that happens, someone might call it ‘payback’ time.’ We all hope it will not happen but being a parent is hard enough. We are supposed to learn when we are growing up but it is never that simple.

In conclusion, the road of parenthood is never long but sometimes it is full of bumpy roads. There are surprises in every corner you turn. And when you think you have done your part as a parent once they have grown up, then one comes back and screams at you.