I was flipping through the pages of last Sunday’s newspaper when something caught my eye. It was a photo of a toddler sitting on a sofa, kissing the forehead of his baby sister, who was seated in his lap. The young boy was two-year-old Prince George of England, and the baby was his newborn sister, Princess Charlotte. The photo was taken by their mother.

The reason the photo grabbed my attention was not because it was such an adorable picture – although it certainly was. The reason was that in a dusty old photo album from when my kids were small, I have that exact same photo.

Not literally the same photo. But one that features my two-year-old son sitting on our sofa in the exact same pose, with his brand-new baby sister propped up in front of him, and with him leaning down to give her a kiss on the forehead.

I still remember taking that photo, and I wonder how many other mothers – especially those with children a few years apart in age – also have one. I would guess it’s quite a few.

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about photos and families right now, and about the memories they inspire. I just returned from a visit to my hometown, where I attended my nephew’s graduation. In our family, he’s the youngest of his generation, so every occasion of his that we celebrate has an “end-of-an-era” feel to it. We take plenty of photos to mark the event, although now we do it on cell phones and digital cameras, and the pictures – mine, anyway – rarely make their way into an actual photo album.

While in town for the graduation, I took a walk past the house where I grew up, and where my dad lived until his death almost a year and a half ago. I thought of all the events and activities that took place there, and the photos that documented them. I hope members of the young family that lives there now are already generating photos – and memories – of their own.

During the weekend, I learned that a close friend of my dad’s passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. She was the mother of someone I went to school with, and our families at one time lived across the street from each other. One of the many things I loved and am going to miss about this dear lady is how – every time we saw each other in recent years – we shared and laughed at stories and memories from years gone by. And how she always referred to her sons, my sisters, and me, as “you kids” – never mind that we’re all in our 50’s and 60’s now.

Memories are snapshots in time.  And I guess we don’t really need photographs to capture and keep them. Still, the photos are nice to have, especially when they immediately call to mind the people, the places, and the kiss-on-the-forehead moments that we never want to lose. And that we’ll treasure throughout our lives.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on June 11, 2015.
©Betty Liedtke, 2015

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