In a burst of energy a month ago, I discovered our ancient slide projector and a big box of slides. Looking through the mess, I felt enough guilt to organize Grit’s LDS missionary slides from Australia. With momentum, I continued through all the slides of our early family years.
It probably was a desire to chuck out the old slide projector or the realization the slides were beginning to fade. Whatever the reason, I finally put my mind to the task, and not wanting the hassle of doing it myself, turned it over to Channell Media, a source I found on the Internet.
Other than wishing for better photography, I was pretty pleased to have those slides preserved for posterity. Since it was the ’70s and ’80s, we often looked like a bunch of rag tags, but then most people of the era looked much the same.
Cutoffs were exactly what the word meant. They were jeans the knees had worn through and were cut off for summer to get more mileage. I saw my favorite red zipper up the front jumpsuit turn up in way too many pictures.
As I looked through the slides, I was reminded how young we were when we started out so innocently excited for the future. I remembered how wonderful but frustrating life could be at times with a weary traveling husband and me home amid the cookie crumbs and diapers. I was also reminded how quickly our turn on earth has passed. Seems the older I get, the faster time goes because realistically the future has shrunk.
In her book, “Family: The Ties that Bind — and Gag," clever Erma Bombeck summed up what I was feeling as I peered at the life behind me and realized the joy of what I now have: “I wanted to go to a place where you were important and people listened to what you had to say. Mothering hadn’t done that and yet wouldn’t it be ironic if my turf yielded the most important commodity being grown today? A family? A crop of children, seeded by two people, nourished by love, watered by tears, and in eighteen or twenty years harvested into worthwhile human beings to go through the process again.”
This year marks a new era in the saga of the Young family. Our granddaughter, Andie, is getting married in August following the lead of her three years older sister, Taryn, last March. They are the two eldest grandchildren and also the first to marry. There will be a few years and then their sister Ellery will likely join the ranks. Then, since they stair-step, it will happen like dominoes as the other 22 take their turn growing our posterity exponentially.
Just like everything old is new again, I now watch my granddaughters, so much in love, heading into an unseen and unscripted future. They’re already better fed, better trained and far more prepared for life than I remember I was. They have ready access to information about anything on the Internet — no Doctor Spock needed. For them, media will have no limit. Their pictures are stored in a cloud for easy access. Will that need updating? Their lives will definitely be much more high tech than mine.
That said, they still must deal with the details of life, the everyday disappointments and successes — the good times and the bad. In fact, “Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but the little things in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort,” says British scientist Humphry Davy.
When I sorted through the slides, what I found was a lifetime of smiles — the bad times were mainly forgotten.