This year for Father’s Day, I wanted to give my dad something special. Something a little more than a Bass Pro Shop gift card or a book about a historical figure. I didn’t have anything in mind at first, I just knew I wanted to do something a little more meaningful this year.
I had been texting with my stepmother when we got on the topic of Father’s Day. I asked her if she had any ideas for what I could do for the man who already has everything. She mentioned that my dad would like some home videos or photos from when my brother and I were little. That was it. I could create a photo album.
The only problem was, I didn’t have the photos, and neither did my stepmom. They were at my mom’s house. It wouldn’t have been an issue normally. But because of the pandemic, I knew it would be a little more difficult to get a hold of them to have the album completed by Father’s Day.
Luckily, as the state was opening up, my mom and brother were planning on visiting for the weekend. She agreed to bring down the photos she had, as we planned out what we were going to do while she visited. It was the first time I would be seeing her since February. I was excited to say the least.
When my mom arrived and I opened the truck door, there were six boxes filled with photos. And not just with photo albums. Most of the photos were still in their original envelopes from when they were first printed. We hauled the heavy boxes into the house, placed them in the dining room, and realized what a huge task this was going to be.
We opened the boxes after dinner. I was so excited to look through all of these that I knew I would need to go through them again later on to really figure out which ones to make copies of. For now, I just wanted to reminisce about the past with my mom and brother.
The first box we opened had albums from when I was a baby. I had seen these photos before, but it had been so long that I had forgotten about most of them. There were photos from when I met family members for the first time, me enjoying the snow as a toddler, and me playing in the sand at the beach.
We spent hours going through the photos. Laughing at funny memories, remembering those family members who are no longer with us, and there was a lot of “who’s that person?”. It was a lot of fun. During those couple of hours, we only got through two boxes, and I ended up going through the other four boxes on my own once my mom and brother left.
In the end, my dad loved the photo album. He flipped through each page and pointed out different memories he had with each photo as well as laughed at some of the funny ones. He didn’t cry, but he said he was about to, which is a win in my book.
All of this remininscing made me realize how few pictures I have of myself in my 20’s. I have photos on my phone and computer, of course, but compared to how many photos were taken in my childhood, my collection is pretty scarce. I don’t have photos of everyday life. And I want to change that.
When I look back at this time in my life, I want to have photos to help me remember all of the great times. I don’t want to only have photos from important milestones like college graduation and moving into a new place. I want to look back and see what the sunset was like that one night, or how lovely the flowers were blooming in one particular spring, and yes, maybe even how wonderful the food was in one of my favorite restaurants.
So, take photos. Take as many as you want. Take them of your friends, your family, your surroundings, and yes, even your food. As we get older, photos might be the best way to trigger wonderful memories from the past, and to share your life with others.
Now I think it’s time to make a photo album for myself.