I remember back in my teens, when I was living at home with my parents, how embarrassed I used to be when any of my friends would come into the house.
My mum absolutely loved showing them pictures of me in her photo albums. She was so proud that she was able to show snapshots of my childhood to my friends.
But I would try to get them out of the house as quickly as possible, mortified.
I remember just like it was yesterday when Neil, now my husband, came to my parents’ house for dinner for the first time.
It horrified me he could see all the unfashionable clothes and shoes I had worn in some photos, the hairstyles, the silly poses we used to do thinking we were so cool back then, and the photos of my youth that I felt so self-conscious being in. Gosh, that list continues.
It wasn’t until I had a child of my own that I really understood how precious those photos in Mum’s beloved 30+ albums are.
How grateful I am that she and Dad had carried a camera with them to all the countries we had lived in. How grateful I am that my parents had captured every moment growing up, some seemingly mundane at the time (just us at home, or in the backyard), unaware of how important it was to preserve that memory.
They honestly made sure they took photos of all the big and small moments, so that one day their children could show them to their own children. It has kept my childhood memories alive.
These albums mean so much to me now. When we’ve all been together, sitting around the same table, we’ve revisited memories and my parents have retold many stories; all prompted by looking at one single photo from a family album, or a framed moment on display at my parent's home. And these moments of reflection have made us laugh and have invoked many misty-eyes.
I’ve been able to relive memories of my grandparents who have all passed away now, and get a sense of who my parents were when they were growing up; photos of their parents, their childhoods, their adventures, their wedding day, university graduations, my mum’s multitude of awards with track and field events. So many of the photos show momentous occasions that happened before I was ever born and if it wasn’t for the photo albums, I may never have known much about these moments.
Now, whenever I go back to my parents’ home in Sydney, the albums are often the things my family and I reach for instead of turning on the TV.