July 14, 2008

Gratituesday: Pictures

I have recently taken it upon myself to sort and organize my mother's pictures. Through various projects and what-not, pictures have been "borrowed" from the albums and never returned, relegated to a ziploc bag with the promise of order returning someday. Then there are the pictures that have been taken in the years since I have left home. For the past 8 years, pictures haven't been placed into an album. It appears as though I was the chief photo organizer while at home, and no one has taken my place. Being the slightly OCD person that I am, I borrowed my mom's album and have been mildly obsessing about proper picture placement the past few days.
Some pictures are easy to place. I can place most pictures of myself in the correct place by looking at my hair and glasses. My dubious fashion choices at least made each outfit memorable. However, there are other pictures that are harder to place because I am young. In a picture, 2 can be hard to tell apart from 3, a play school field trip can be confused with a Pre-K trip. For those pictures, I must ask for help in correctly dating the picture.
Going through these pictures I am once again struck at what is missing in the pictures. I have no first birthday pictures - my birth mother spent my first birthday fighting with my birth dad and packing our things in a hurry. We (my birth mother and I) left my birth dad the day after I turned one and moved out of state. I didn't see my birth dad again. I have 1 picture of myself with my birth dad, and very few with my birth mom. I wasn't adopted until I was 25 months old, so you would think that there would be more pictures of the two of us than the dozen or so that I have. All told, there are about 30 pictures of my first year. I have well over 500 of BB's first year. Most likely because I have so few of my own baby days. I asked once why I didn't have more baby pictures, only to be told that my birth mother pawned the camera for drug money. Charming. Warm fuzzy feeling. That probably also explains why my baby book is largely blank.
It would be so easy to get caught up in all of these sad facts. In fact, I've spent a lot of my life bemoaning my lack of what my friends took for granted. There are no baby clothes of mine, I don't know the first word that I spoke. But I do have something that I find in the pictures.
Starting the month I arrived at my aunt and uncle's (who would later adopt me), there are pictures. Hundreds. Even in the first year that I lived with them, when I was "only" a niece, there are pictures. Not just the momentous birthday and Christmas pictures, but even everyday pictures. There's half a roll of film used to show me trying to walk down the slight hill in the backyard. There are pictures of me playing, pictures of me eating, just pictures. Go forward in the album to when I am 3, and the pictures for just that one year take up more than one album. Sure, we did go to the zoo twice and to Sea World, but there are still a lot of pictures of just me being a kid. Proof that someone wanted to document me.
For that, I'm grateful. Pictures might seem like a small thing, but for someone who spent so much time feeling like a throwaway or a charity project, the pictures are a big deal.
check out Heavenly Homemakers each Tuesday for Gratituesday


  1. Pictures ARE a big deal! I've been really sad that I have so few pictures of myself as a child, because it makes me feel like my parents just didn't really care. I know they were young and unprepared for parenthood, but still. It kind of hurts.

    I take millions of pictures of my kids!

  2. It makes so much sense why all these pictures are so important to you. My kids love looking at their pictures over and over. I'm so glad that your aunt and uncle loved you enough to capture you in pictures...and adopt you! They sound great!

  3. That's a wonderful revelation, Heather. I'm sad that you've always felt that way, there are so many people that love and appreciate you (including me!!). I know this sounds trite and I don't mean it too, but your "different" life has made you quite a character that makes it so great to know you. :)


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