I received a CD-rom from my cousins yesterday. It contained more than 1,300 family photos. The note promised pictures from several weddings, including my own, major birthday parties for family members, showers, holidays and more. Oh boy, I thought, eager to relive the old days with so many loved ones who have passed away.
There was some of that, but most of the pictures were of my cousins and their kids. Three cousins, five kids, three spouses of the kids at every age from newborn to young adult. So many group photos. Moms pregnant, moms at baby showers, moms holding their babies, moms, dads and grandparents with tiny gap-toothed kids of varying heights. The passing generations of parents to children to their children. Soon these young adults will be having their own offspring, and the cyle will go on with baby pictures, first communions, graduations, weddings, and more baby pictures. Of course the people who took the pictures, cousins whom I treasure even though I rarely see them, would focus mostly on their own families. My own photo albums have pictures of my family, although lately I haven’t taken very many.
These days, my photos tend to be of old barns, flowers, bridges, trees, and dogs. If I had children, I suppose I’d be snapping photos of them incessantly and proudly foisting them on relatives who would display them on their pianos, end tables and bookshelves. But I don’t have that kind of photos. A few stepchild photos here and there, but not many.
I did find some wonderful shots on the CD-rom of my grandmother, my mother and aunts and uncles who have passed away. There were a couple from my wedding and some that showed me the way I used to look. So young! I will save these pictures and love them. But the generations stop with me. I don’t fit into the family picture the way my cousins do. I’m different. It makes me sad.
Do you know what I mean? Do you feel that way sometimes? Like the one looking on from afar?