Two large boxes have been sitting in my guest room since January. They are filled with photographs, the last items from my mom and stepfather’s home in Florida. Yesterday was a hot summer day. Too hot in the middle of the day to go for a walk or garden or go to the beach or play badminton. I decided it was time to tackle the boxes.
At the top of the box were all of the little photo albums I had made for my parents as the girls were growing up. Albums of holidays, gatherings, and vacations. Albums of some of the small moments that grandparents want to be part of. Then there were the disks; CDs that must be filled with pictures. I put those aside for another summer day (maybe a rainy one would be best for this task). Then there were all the pictures my parents have taken of our girls. Some beautiful photos, and some that anyone else would have tossed in the garbage, but not my parents, and not me. How am I going to throw away a picture of my daughter sitting on her grandmother’s (who is no longer with us) lap, both of them laughing hysterically? Yes, the picture is a bit fuzzy, and yes, there are other pictures of the two of them that are much better, but this memory can’t be tossed in a garbage can! Into the “To Be Saved” pile it goes. Then there are pictures of my sister, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins. I sort those into piles labeled “Mail to ____” And finally there are the old black and whites. There are pictures of my grandparents when they were young, my parents as kids and young adults, my parents with their friends and families, my parents when they were young and in love, my parents getting married (They divorced later. There are no pictures of that!), my sister and I as babies and young children. These old pictures also had people in them that I didn’t know and were in places that weren’t familiar. I had to call my dad numerous times to get more information about who was in the pictures and what was happening.
The goal of today’s project was to sort through the photos and keep a few good ones. The goal was to get rid of these boxes that have been sitting around for months. That didn’t happen. Instead I spent the whole day enjoying old memories and making some new ones, calling my husband and daughter over each time I found a new discovery or a fun picture or wanted to share the story behind a photograph. I haven’t accomplished anything. There are still lots of photographs in a box, but I feel so satisfied. I feel like I spent a day with family. I feel connected. I feel grounded. I feel safe.