Family / Kids / Parenting

Our Lives in Pictures

DSC01035I was looking through pictures today, searching for a specific picture taken when I was nine months pregnant with our first child. I was standing sideways on our deck, wearing khaki shorts, a navy blue t-shirt and a red baseball hat. I had an easy smile and I remember feeling so happy and carefree.

But I couldn’t find the picture in any of our albums so I started going through our digital pictures thinking it must be in there somewhere.

I went through 13 years of photographs, the past 13 years of my life.

Though I never found that specific picture, I found other pictures from that pregnancy and the one after that. I looked through countless photographs of chubby cheeks and toddler smiles, family vacations, and holidays. There were blurry pictures and outtakes that made me laugh and also made me thankful that I am terrible at organizing my pictures because I just might have deleted them and missed out on the bliss of looking back at the less than picture-perfect moments. I got caught up in the nostalgia and soon found myself wondering if we laugh now like we did then.

I know I’m no longer the carefree person I was when I stood on that deck and on the cusp of all my life would become. Just as the pictures document the passage of time for our kids, the years show in the pictures of us as well. We are older and softer. We have more gray hair, and yes–we look more weary than we did before this life with children began.

And I do feel weary at times because, in addition to the day to day grind of life with two children, I worry about the kids and our parenting. I think of the mistakes that we’ve made and know we’ve made others we don’t realize. Sometimes, I even think of the mistakes we’ve yet to make. Yes, my mind is like a festive piñata! If piñatas were filled with anxiety.

I want to know how this turns out, how they turn out, how we turn out.

The pictures and the deep thinking made me weepy, so I went downstairs and said to Luisa, “Do you think we’ve ruined them?”

Fortunately, Luisa is used to this sort of thing and laughed. I explained that I’d been looking at old pictures and that we all looked so happy then and maybe we don’t look as happy now. She said, “We always look happy in pictures and no–we didn’t ruin them.”  She seemed pretty certain. “But we do look pretty old and haggard now,” I said. She laughed again, “Well, yeah. Maybe they have sucked a little of the life out of us.”

Soon after that, it was time for Luisa to pick up the kids from school, and I had to make dinner and then the kids were home, telling us about their days, about Miguel’s trip to the museum and Zeca’s new class pet, a guinea pig she hopes they name Timothy. I forgot about the baby pictures and my worries and being haggard because we had things to do.IMG_1415

Sitting here now, I realize that this is how it goes. This is life. It is a collection of moments and no matter how present we are in each of them, they still blend together and accumulate until we look back one day and see the passage of time like a time lapse home movie that feels far removed from who we are in the present.

Tonight, I hugged my  kids a little tighter and as they held onto me just as they did when they were small, I felt at peace again. We’ve made mistakes and will certainly make more, but we’ve done more than that. I can still see in them the joyful babies they once were and believe we’ve done everything possible to honor them. I’m guessing that in 13 years, I’ll look back at this time in our lives and say, “We looked so happy then.”


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  1. Lisa Thompson says:

    This is lovely. Thank you.

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