My sister is on a quest to map out our family tree and she’s found out some really neat stuff about relatives that I never met or knew anything about.  I like that she is doing this because I get to know all of this stuff she finds out without having to put forth any effort myself!  Win/Win!!  No, seriously, it’s quite cool and I appreciate all of her hard work and effort.  (Notice the butt-kissing please).

Anyway, she wanted me to go through all of my old pictures and send her any I have of certain relatives.  I kept putting this off because all of our old pictures are stored in these big waterproof tubs in our closet.  (Because we live in hurricane central and need to evacuate on a semi-regular basis, it’s easier to keep some things we don’t have to use often packed and ready to go, and the pictures are one of those things).  But, last night, I braved the closet, pulled everything out and started going through all of our photo albums.

I had a lovely night.  I watched my husband and I age right before my eyes from baby-faced and carefree to middle-aged, stressed out and incredibly blessed.  I watched my babies go from sweet little infants to chubby toddlers to small children to preteens and beyond.  I realized again that my oldest has almost the exact same face as one of my other daughters (they have completely different hair though, so the resemblence is not as strong as it would be otherwise), and that BOTH of them look almost exactly like I did as a child.  My youngest son looks just like my dad did at the same age (though my son has freckles and my dad did not).  My other daughter looks just like her paternal grandmother did as a child, and my autistic son does not look autistic as a young child.  He definitely is, and was, but in the pictures he looks remarkably …”normal.”  These days he definitely LOOKS autistic in pictures (the way he holds his body and head, the fact that he stims, etc.) and I had forgotten that this wasn’t always the case.

I looked at our wedding pictures and realized that my daughter will be the same age I was when we got married in less than six years.  No way.  She’s still a baby and will still BE a baby in six years.  WAAAAAYYY to young to marry!  Isn’t if funny how I was certain I was ready to marry, but I think of others at the same age I was as babies.  Why, pretty soon I’ll be rocking on my porch and talking about all the young whippersnappers.  Time marches on, but I wish he’d slow down a bit and let me catch my breath!

I found pictures of our dog as a puppy.  She’s so old now (still hanging in there), it’s hard to imagine  her as a mischievous and badly-behaved puppy, and yet there she was.  My youngest kids had never seen pictures of her as a puppy, and I don’t think they had ever really believed that Looney WAS a puppy when we got her.  It was an eye-opening experience for them as they cooed over her and wished that they’d gotten to experience having a puppy too.

I got to experience my daughter flipping through old pictures of me and saying, “Wow, mom, you were really pretty and thin!” and you will be happy to know that she is STILL alive after saying that, but only because with age has come WISDOM and I was able to weigh jail time against all of the other variables and make a wise decision.  (Though am I horrible to  hope that her own daughter utters the same words to her in 25 years?  And that I am still alive to take the inevitable phone call from her?)

And, oh yes, I did manage to find some pictures of our relatives to scan for my sister, but I must admit I was enjoying the trip down memory lane so much that  I almost forgot why I had gotten the tubs out in the first place.  If I could only grab one thing in the event of a fire or natural disaster, I’d grab these tubs. They are irreplacable.

As of this year, I have now lived the same amount of years with my husband as I lived before I met him.  It’s a gift to be able to look back on all of that living and be able to say that Yes, if given the chance, I’d make the same choices again.