The second traveller had homework. She had a big blank yellow ME that she then had to cover with pictures of herself. I noticed when she was telling me about her "ME" there seemed to be a lot of "WE".
Her "ME" meant that "I" had to scroll through our library of digital pictures while under heavy scrutiny and instruction from the Second Little Traveller. She had suddenly switched into Anna Wintour editing the September issue. She slowly perused each photo, discussing what was going to make it on to the page.
"I like the one of me in the rabbit suit", we scrolled back to our days in Libya to find her on the sofa with long pink fluffy ears. As we made our way past Libya and in to Canada she said "Don't print the one of me being a grumpy cowgirl in Calgary." she knew me too well, I love that photo.
When WE had enough to cover her "ME" she asked which pictures I would have picked if I had a ME. I scrolled back to the beginning of our digital library which coincidentally begins a month before the birth of the First Little Traveller. I had confirmed my children's suspicions, that I didn't really exist until they came along. There I was, standing on Orchard Road in Singapore, wearing comfortable shoes and bad maternity pants. My one and only digital "ME" before we all became "WE".
There's a box of previous "ME's" in dusty photo albums stored in a cupboard in Australia. The non digital ME, the child ME, the school ME, the single ME, the drunken ME, the sporty ME. The old ME before WE.
As the Second Little Traveller and I looked through the digital photos she said "there's not a lot of photos of just you? How come?" I had to think about it. When did I stop having pictures of "just me". I had a few logical explanations - I was the one taking the photos, or maybe I was just so busy with babies and toddlers there just wasn't time, but when I really thought about it, they were poor excuses. Why were all my ME's now WE's? Should I have been having an identity crisis?
There's a lot of "WE" in my "ME". It doesn't matter how much I work on my "ME" whether it's writing, spending time with friends or failing dismally through a downward dog at Yoga class. The "WE" always seems to be there, right in the front of my brain. I can't tuck it away to the back, it's always right there - up the front. What will they eat for dinner? Did he take the vaccination form to school today? She needs a new retainer, I need to make an appointment at the Orthodontist. She'll need new sneakers for basketball. When is the Rugby trip? Was the school bowling trip today? I need to find a black jacket for her Michael Jackson Halloween dress up. Questions like these work on high rotation.
If life has a pattern of "ME's" and "WE's". I'm making my way through a strong phase of the "WE".
This will change.
As the Little Travellers grow, there will be less pictures of bunny suits and bowling parties. In the meantime though, I'm making the most of my life of "WE". There's no identity crises, just the predictable angst that comes with balancing the WE and the ME. Realizing that I like the WE and want to hang on to it for as long as I can, knowing that it wont last forever and I'll miss it terribly when it's gone.
Do you have more ME's than WE's in your photo collection? Or is your ME a distant memory?