I don’t think I will ever stop watching the music video “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran on repeat. (Watch the video here.) He did not write it about a Mother’s love, but the music video shows clips of Sheeran as a young baby, a toddler, a teenager, and an adult. So many small, beautiful moments of his life. I watch it, and all I can think about is his mom on the other side of that camera videoing this precious baby of hers. She watches him and truly believes nothing so wonderful was ever created. The way he crawls on the kitchen floor, falls in the muddy puddle, sits on the piano for the first time, plays guitar on the side of the road is like some sort of magic to her heart. And she watches the videos later and forgets all the hard moments of the day like when he spit all his baby food out all over or yelled at her or started making friends with people she wasn’t so sure about. She watches the videos and her heart is right there in that moment. He is hers. No matter what he does or where he goes, she keeps all these memories with her.
“Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing makes us feel alive”
It hurts to keep their hearts with us, to carry them around and try to keep them safe. I saw my little Boston’s heart get broken, truly broken for the first time a few weeks ago. I didn’t know love could hurt like that.
“We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time’s forever frozen still”
His heart will get broken many more times. People will be mean to him. But my love for him will always be kept just like all these videos and pictures I have taken of all the sweet and best parts of our days. He will know that I am the keeper of his good. When his heart breaks, I will remind him of his all of his goodness, of all of my love.
“Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul
And it’s the only thing that I know, know
I swear it will get easier
Remember that with every piece of you
Hm, and it’s the only thing we take with us when we die”
And on those days where he is breaking my heart, I like to imagine an older version of Boston singing this part of the song to me. I swear it will get easier. Remember that with every piece of you, Mom.
“So you can keep me
Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me closer ’til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
And I won’t ever let you go
Wait for me to come home”
And before I know it I will have to let him have his heart back. He will leave our house as my little boy and go off to live his beautiful, hard life. But by that time his heart will have gotten so used to being kept close to mine that he won’t ever let me go. He might forget to call me unless he needs something. He might make choices I don’t agree with. He might turn out nothing like I imagined. But his heart will always want my heart to beat with his in those great moments.
At the end of the music video Ed Sheeran comes out on stage in front of a huge crowd of people and they are all clapping and cheering. It still looks like a home video. I imagine his mom in the crowd or on the side of the stage recording it. To all these people he is a celebrity. To her, he is still her little boy. And to him, she is still the most important person at that concert. Her knowing he is great means more than a huge crowd of fans. After all, she kept his heart safe for so many years. He still wants her to keep him close, keep that photo of his goodness in her pocket always. His heart will always feel at home with hers.
It doesn’t matter what age you are. Your heart knows that your mom can always be your home.
Boston always asks me if I will wait for him when he is bigger and gets done fighting fires all day. He wants to make sure I will be at home waiting for him. I hear moms of older children always say how nice it is at the holidays when they get all their “kids” under one roof. Moms are always waiting for their kids to come home.
Loving is hard, it hurts, but this job of being a keeper of hearts is like nothing else. Like the song says, “It is the only thing that makes us feel alive.” I will wait for you, little boy. I will always keep you in my pocket.