It’s been almost four years since my mom died. And still the large boxes full of her photo albums lay untouched, squirreled away in our storage area. It seemed such a massive task to go through them all and decide what to keep. But finally this week I took the plunge.
Opening the first box I reached in and pulled out the top album. Before long, I was drawn into the pages, reliving memories as I perused each photo. I feared that I would end up in the attic forever, pondering every last picture and feeling reluctant to let any of them go. But in time I developed a process. Soon I was surrounded by piles of photos, pulling them out of albums and picturing the delight of family and friends who would soon receive them in the mail. Most were just fun photos, designed to solicit a smile or even better a good laugh at the memory of happy times past.
I was right to expect that it would be a big job. But it turned out to be far more enjoyable and entertaining than I thought. And I was left with some surprising takeaways. Many of the albums were from the later years, after Dad died and Mom was on her own. It was heartwarming to see just how prominently my family figured into Mom’s collection of photos. There she was at all our kids’ major events. She never missed a play, a concert, a graduation or any special occasion despite the miles between us. And we made plenty of trips to visit her in Duluth.
But this particular photo spoke to me more than any of the others. I haven’t a clue what the game was. It must have been invented by Karen, at about age three. And Mom was right there in the thick of it. Perfectly willing to lay on the floor, obviously enjoying the moment immensely. It’s what Mom did best as a Grandma. She got down and played with the kids. She always had time for them. And they held a special place in her heart.
I’m now a Grammy, with two and a soon-to-be third grandchild to treasure. Little did I realize that within Mom’s photo albums lay a wonderful lesson. I now know that I have the perfect role model for this special relationship. And I’m taking the “play” message to heart.