I was surprised at how much you hate this photo. I find it winsome and touching.
You were a little boy. A much longed-for and loved little boy. Unfortunately mom was not up to taking care of you; keeping track of all the things mommies do for their little boys. That doesn't lessen her love of you, nor does it excuse their lack of attention to your needs.
You were raised by wolves, yet you've managed to become a worthwhile, charming, intelligent, loving man. Good for you. Bad on them.
I think when you see this photo you don't want to feel that pain, suffer those memories again. I do not enjoy strolls down memory lane re: my growing up years, either. When I see this photo, It reminds me of your sweetness and the fun we had with you. I love your innocence, and a couple of my grandkids look a bit like this photo of you.
Everyone has a story. It's what you do after that counts. (Sue Miller's For Love.)
We write our own stories. (Don Miller, et al.)
Sometimes you need to let go of your old stories to make room for the new ones God is writing with you.
We mostly weren't beaten or ever locked up, so its hard to allow ourselves to acknowledge there was emotional abuse and certainly neglect. Yelling, empty threats, shaming, rage, embarrassment, disappointment--plenty. Yet, we had grandparents and aunts who loved and trained us, and they along with mom covered us in prayer. God is faithful.
I think having been a part of the first 5 kids--your sisters shared and reinforced the good memories. Some of us pretend they were all good. You were just too young while your sisters were at home to remember all the love we showered on you. And, our grandparents were older and less active by the time you could have most benefited; although I know you treasure your memories of both sets.
So, I'm loving this reminder of my baby brother. You've always had to make it up as you go along. Guess what, so did your sisters.
Now write a great story with the next chapters of your life.