I love listening to friends of mine who are 10 or more years older than I am. As I get ready to send my first son to college, theirs have long graduated and are getting married. Or having children. Or moving halfway around the world to start new jobs. No matter what their kids are doing or where they're doing it, the common theme is this: Give your children time and they'll surprise you by appreciating everything you've tried so hard to teach them. I'll believe that when I see it. ;)
So I found this picture. It's a very rare snapshot of all five boys doing something simultaneously and happily... taken maybe 8 years ago in Hilton Head where Joe and I have enjoyed vacationing with his family for years. Michael's maybe 10 in this picture, the same age my twins will turn in less than two weeks. Jack would be 8. Ryan, 5... and Christopher and Bobby are 2. I can still remember horsing around with Little Swimmers swim diapers for Bobby and Chris because the last thing we wanted on a family vacation was a pool accident. Okay. Ew. That was gross.
I remember them always griping when I took out my camera to take their pictures. THEY HATED IT. But now.. as we leaf back through the pages of their lives, I see them start to process it. These are the memories of their past. And they will become even more precious the older they get.
I've met a handful of people lately who've lost a child. One from cancer. Another from a brain tumor. A third from a massive heart attack. I can't imagine that. I can't imagine having nothing but photos and memories to keep my heart from breaking. And having it break anyway. The resilience that walks among us is breathtaking. We lose people we love... and still the sun comes up the next day anyway.
I guess that's why grandchildren are so terribly important and eagerly awaited. It's another opportunity for the love you have inside to spill into another receptacle. Another chance to adore someone so wholly, so deeply, so totally... and another page on that family album to begin filling up.
It's decided, then. I'm going to go charge the battery on my big camera, the good camera, and today... I'm going to capture some memories. Soon enough, today's snapshots will become tomorrow's memories, and I know my boys will be grateful for the time I took to document the story of their incredible lives.