When he first died I met some people who were into scrapbooking and it inspired me to make this frame. It's been moved around our apartment over the years, usually propped up on a bookcase or dresser, and I've finally decided to put it up somewhere permanent. For a long time now I've been unsure about whether I actually like this frame. It's not really my typical style (she said, side-eyeing the flower petals around the border of this blog) and the people who inspired it have since become another source of pain. Long story. There is so much I could write about the history of this project, the details of the various pieces, and of course the photos. But I've gotten attached to it for obvious reasons. And now I think I do actually like it. It's sort of whimsical without being cloying. It's very much associated with his being a newborn baby and not the 6 year old he should be. That's fine. I haven't decided how to manage the idea that he's both a newborn baby and a 6 year old. Maybe it's not one solid decision but more like an endlessly treacherous walk along a dangerous cliff with an inspiring view.
So I got out the mallet and nails, moved some photos around to make space and...realized just how dusty this frame is. And because of all those delicate little scrapbooky pieces, it's actually quite hard to keep clean. I tried vacuuming and dusting by hand. I guess I will have to get some Qtips or something. Some of that dust is quite stubborn. Now I'm conflicted. Do I want a dusty photo frame of him? Not just up on the wall, but at all? Dust represents neglect. Decay. Time passing unnoticed. Normally I couldn't care less about dust. It's more of an annoyance that I can't be bothered to deal with. And that's the problem. I know I will go for long stretches without dusting it, or even noticing it's dusty. But this feels so symbolic. What does it say about me as a mother if I put up a perpetually dusty photo of my baby. What does it say about my love for him. Spoiler alert: there is no answer to these queries. It's just part of the experience of being his mother.
Of all the struggles I've experienced since he was born, I never could have anticipated this one. It feels idiotic. At the time it was just a seemingly harmless arts and crafts activity I did to honour him. Something bereaved parents do. An Outlet For My Grief (TM). I could have read 800 babyloss blogs (I probably have) and not come across this specific challenge.
So add this one to the list. Weird stupid unanticipated shit I have to deal with because my baby died.