About a month ago I took a photography class…and to begin we had to go around the room and say why we took pictures.
I am the kind of girl who in a group like that likes to have some smart ass witty thing to say. But my friends were the teachers and I couldn’t think of anything fast enough.
All I could actually think of was pouring over pictures albums when I was little. And going to my Aunt Bobbie’s house and looking at her albums over and over and asking her to tell the stories in each picture.
A lot of my memories from when I was little aren’t really memories at all. They are versions of me and events that I remember the picture of.
Like right now if I close my eyes I can see one of those square kind of pictures with the rounded edges of me and my family on vacation at the beach. I don’t remember the actual trip or the bad blue dress I was wearing. But I can clearly remember the photo and my painful looking sunburn. I’m sure that my mom sprayed me down that night with solarcaine or rubbed me with aloe vera. And that there was probably lots of fighting and wine and sand that never got out of our shoes. Tar stains on the bottom of my feet and sand castles washed away by waves. But like I said I don’t really remember any of that. But I do have the picture and on the back is scribbled in someone else’s handwriting
“Padre Island"

Last night I read, Kelly Corrigan’s Lift in a short sitting….because it is THAT GOOD ( and no this isn’t a blog tour where I got the book for free….I so paid full price for it and it was worth every penny. I’d be happy to give you my copy, but I think I will give it to my mom instead). It is a long letter to her two daughters. Because they won’t remember. And before she forgets. In it she states that most people only have about 10 really solid memories from before middle school. Which means that all these dance parties in the living room,
the 473 times I read Hop on Pop
all the times I got up in the middle of the night.
every stinky diaper.
Even the ridiculous over the top birthday parties and light sabers and snow cones probably won’t ever be recalled.

But they will have my pictures and they will have my words. And sometimes that is enough to make a memory. Even if it is just the photographic version of one.

And today Tessie is a year and a half. 18 months. The point where you start leaving the word months off when someone asks how old she is. She will not remember anything up to this point. And probably nothing for a few more years. So I will have to do the remembering for her. If I were to scribble something on the back of this snapshot…it might be how we had a picnic that day at the arboretum and how she kept wondering over to other families to see if they had something better to eat or how she almost fell into the goldfish pond or how she spent most of the day trying to keep up with her brother who was on a personal mission to roll down every single hill. And I hope that in ten or twenty years when one of us stumbles across this photo ( that my friend Rhonda snapped) that even if neither of us really remember the grass stains of the smell of the daffodils, that we can look at that photo and still know that it was a good day.


Corinne said...

I've been wanting to take a photography class! And I'm waiting for my copy of Lift to arrive :)

I always found a little bit of safety in the fact that they won't remember those early days. It's frightening to me that my oldest (3 1/2) might remember these days - ha! Not that we do terrible things, at all, but they'll have their own memories, not the ones we remember for them. I'm not making any sense...

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

Gorgeous writing!

mrs. parker said...

what a sweey story about journaling!