It wasn't about the photographs -- all those blurry, out of focus, too-light, too-dark, poorly-framed snapshots in my mother's photo album. It wasn't about the photos at all though we, her descendants, would like to think so. No, she preserved and cherished the photographs for another reason. Now I understand.
A few weeks ago my daughters and both grandchildren were home for a few days' visit. We had occasional upsets and accidents during their visit, as most families may have, and much of the time we were busy going and doing. But there was one precious, glorious afternoon when we were all home together, all happy and content in our activities and with each other. It was a time I hold dear in my memory.
While Older Daughter took some much-needed leisurely time for herself, Younger Daughter and I took the "babies" for their first ride in the wagon.
When we returned my husband was cleaning Older Daughter's car. (Look closely.)
Younger Daughter cleared out some brush behind the garage while Older Daughter and the babies sat on the swing, blew bubbles, and played.
There's little left of that precious afternoon when M. was busy being a boy, playing and teasing; when little O. was being her sweet little girl self with her baby-round cheeks; when our daughters were so close my husband and I could speak to them face to face. That day's gone. The babies are a month older with more skills, new words, different interests. And time will go on. All that's left are these poor, out-of-focus, too-light, too-dark, poorly-framed snapshots. And my memories of the day. Not in a hundred years would I think these photographs worth saving except they speak to my heart of a sweet time, a few precious hours, with my dearest loved ones. Looking at them and remembering that time brings tears to my eyes again.
Now I understand. Even poor photographs are better than only the memories of a wonderful time.
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