Sunday, September 21, 2008

So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family. ~ Haniel Long

I spent a lot of last year scanning family photos and adding them to online albums, and the peace of mind I feel at having them all together and accessible to me now when I'm hours away from my parents' photo albums and baby books and boxes of loose pictures makes all the time it took to sort, upload, date, and label them worthwhile. One of my favorites is this one of me and my younger brother taken in the mid-1980s.  My brother was about three years old here, and I was about eight. (Even if I didn't know the date already, my Mary Lou Retton Wanna-Be haircut would be the giveaway for me.) When Mom announced she wanted a picture of us, Bri stood up on a kitchen chair. We threw our arms around each other completely spontaneously, which is what makes this one a family favorite. My grandparents kept this picture in one of their albums, and every now and then while visiting them, I would pull the old albums down from the little three-tiered brass shelf Grandma kept them on and would make my family look through all the pictures yet again. The stories that get told and retold about each picture never change, and so my mom has always said the same thing about this shot: "I asked you two to smile for me and you held each other like that as if you'd planned it." The photograph captures something my memory never would have: Bri and I looked so much alike in 1985! I hadn't realized as a child that we had such similar eyes and smiles. What I have always remembered, though, is how hard we were laughing both while the picture was taken and afterward. The fact that we'd both decided at the same moment to put our arms around each other like that struck us as wildly funny, and we laughed over it like loons. Both the picture and memories always make me smile.