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What I Keep

June 29, 2015

Do you remember the summers of your childhood? Do you remember how summer seemed to stretch out endlessly before you, full of possibility and adventure? At least, for me it felt that way. Long days in the woods, swimming at a local pool or a wading pool in the backyard, running through the sprinkler, curling up with a good book or writing one. Yes, I wrote “novels” for my friends. Six, in fact. Six novels written in 500 page notebooks. I loved getting lost in my imaginary world of characters…whether ones I had invented or ones someone else had written up for me to enjoy.

More than anything I remember the sense of family. Cookouts, beach trips, homemade ice cream, catching fireflies and knowing you belonged to this crazy, wonderful group of people.

The years blur, seeming to speed by faster with each passing year, as I try to hold on and remember everything happening around me. This is what I keep. My memories. Sadly, sometimes the things you think you’ll never forget slip through the cracks of your remembrance. Oh, why didn’t I write more down? The funny quips the children would unexpectedly let loose, the hilarious mishaps of life lived, the quirky things they used to do. So much to keep. So much. When Victoria walked away to board her flight to Holland, I “saw” her as a babe in my arms…and then I saw a blur of life…and she was walking away. When we drop Judah off at university, I know I’ll feel the same. My boy. Now a young man. The time in between a blur of life lived. I look at Mercy Anne and tell myself to hold on. Though we have a few years with her yet, I know those years will slip through our fingers like grains of sand.

I kneel down in front of my entry hall table where all our old albums are kept. My babies. Our family. Our history. I watch old family movies…and, yes, I remember. Those cute voice with their mixed accents and languages. I see Mercy Anne communicating the best she can, but not really knowing any words at all and barely able to talk. Now…well, God is good. Yes, this is what I keep.

The other day, as the kids were looking through old photos, Anton leaned over my shoulder and said, “You’ve done such a great job creating these wonderful memories for our family. Thank you.”

I wanted to cry. My kids get tired of the camera sometimes but then, once time has passed, they are grateful I took the time to keep those moments. Yes, it’s good to be in the moment without a camera, to just live it. But, my passion is to remember those moments because they are so precious to me. I know time will erode the memories we think will never fade. I want my work to help spark the flame of remembrance in later years.

So, here we are. Another summer in our family history. We kicked it off with a Father’s Day celebration. Though it was miserably hot, I chose to stay outside so I could document whatever came my way. I’d rather sweat and remember than be cool and none the richer for the experience.

I knew I wanted photos of my awesome husband with our treasures. And then they threw me in the mix.  Might as well. 🙂  So thankful my brother took this shot of all of us. And then I just sat back and waited for whatever.

This is what I keep…


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