race’s throwback memory
I think I learned to laugh at myself when I came across this school picture as an adult. I mean, what in the world is going on here? Braces. Glasses. Zits. Combover. And there’s something magical about how the longer you look at my forehead, the more it looks like it’s somehow misshapen. It’s not a terrible photo – it’s actually a decent capture of a truly indecent time of life. Puberty can be unkind in many different ways, and judging by this photo it was unkind to me in most of those ways. I have always been proud of the fact that my parents never gave me a curfew growing up. Now I can kind of see why. What kind of trouble was the kid in this photo going to get into?
Ugly-duckling jokes aside, I had a truly blessed childhood, and this photo reminds me of so much more than my time as an awkward tween. Not every kid with crooked teeth gets to have braces. Not every kid with bad eyesight gets to have glasses. Not every little boy has a mom who carefully picks out his shirt and combs his hair before school every morning. Miraculously, I have no memories of bullies in school picking on me for my looks, and not every kid who looks like this can say that. This photo knocks me down a peg at the same time that it reminds me of where I come from and all the blessings that I’ve enjoyed along the way. In fact, I find that most photographs taken during difficult times of life remind us more of the tender mercies than of the trials, don’t you?