For the most part, I avoid things that will draw me down the road to nostalgia because despite the sweetness of the memories, there are those that truly do sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.
Last week, my awesome cousin, Brad, and his equally awesome girlfriend, Brenda, gave me a flash drive full of photographs my uncle had taken years and years ago. The images were originally a collection of slides and I’d never seen any of them.
Brad and Brenda cleverly took photos of the slides when they watched them at Christmas with my beloved auntie then saved all the photos on DVDs and flash drives, making them so much more usable.
As I opened the file and began looking through the images (many taken years and years before I was born), that feeling of nostalgia swept over me.
There, in beautiful full-color photos were images of my family. Those still with us and those I miss so much… like my grandparents. My grandpa passed away when I was just thirteen.
There were my two vibrant aunts, both lost to cancer.
My uncles, including my dear Uncle Mel who took most of the photos.
And my sister, captured in her teen years.
Here, she’s riding my pony, Dynamite, while my sister-in-law leads it. My brother and two cousins stand in the background.
Not all the photos made my eyes leak, though. This one made me laugh aloud. These two goofy guys are my brothers. The one on the left obviously needed to have a very intense fashion intervention before he left the house. I’m kind of surprised Mom let him go out wearing that vest with that shirt. Oh, and check out the sideburns. Nice, guys. Really nice.
Apparently, one year my parents hosted the annual Christmas gathering we didn’t have snow, so instead of sledding, everyone skated on our pond. There are so many things about this picture that makes me smile, not the least of which that my fashion-challenged brother rode his motorbike to the pond. I’m assuming if the pond is frozen that solid, it had to have been cold. (Also evidenced by the way my aunts are bundled up in their furry-collar coats.)
There were also some photos of me I had no idea existed.
Like this one of my Aunt Loletia holding me when I was just two months old. She passed away just a few years after Captain Cavedweller and I wed.
Or this photo taken the summer before I turned two. Apparently, I loved the color pink even then, and liked to blend my girly side (notice the doll in my hand) while still doing my best at being a farm girl (straw in the background). We will not discuss the weird, ugly brown shoes I’m wearing.
And this one, taken the Christmas after my second birthday. Rather wistful looking, don’t you think? Since I was the only baby in the extended family at that time, I can’t help but wonder what I’m looking at? Which cousin got something shiny or nifty that caught my interest?
Okay, enough strolling down memory lane. I’ll wrap up the rambling and get to the point of this week’s lesson which is this:
Even when we know something (especially a memory) will make us nostalgic and sad and cause our hearts to pinch a little, there is still joy in it too.
Don’t miss out on the joy because you want to avoid the tears. Smile while those memories leak from your eyes and roll down your cheeks, knowing it’s a blessing to have memories like that.