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Monkey on Mom's head 2

Every once in a while you come across and old photo of yourself that at first seems so unfamiliar that you feel like a stranger to yourself. You find yourself asking, “Is that really me?” when in fact you know it is.

That’s how I felt yesterday when my daughter found an old photo of me with a monkey on my head. I looked a bit squirmy, like I was wishing the moment was over. Well, its not every day that there’s a monkey on your head.

“Do you remember this photo?” she asked me.

“I kind of do and I kind of don’t,” I told her. I stared at the picture. I think I’m about seventeen and I’m somewhere in Greece. I’d forgotten about the monkey, but now that I think about it, I remember him.

I remember that I didn’t particularly like having him on my head. I was worried that he would poop on me and I didn’t like his screaming.  I was probably only with that little monkey for a minute or two, but that minute or two was enough for me.

While I squinted at the photo, I tried to remember who gave me the monkey to hold. Then, slowly, across a dusty part of my brain, a pathway cleared and a vague memory of a round middle-aged man, a street vendor, appeared.  “Do you want to hold my monkey?” he had asked me.

“Yes, that’s it,” I shouted, and I shared these details with my daughter, proud that I could reconstruct the scene all these years later.

The great thing about old photos is the ability to catch glimpses of your younger self. I like this glimpse because it is of me being bold. Today, I wouldn’t hold that monkey for anything—been there done that, as they say. There’s a comfort and wisdom in being middle-aged, not needing to prove myself to a monkey or anyone else for that matter. Let some other teen give that monkey a try…