I mentioned back in May that I had put a batch of photos from our vast collection into a digital photo frame that Craig won at his brother's campaign fundraiser (in case you're wondering, he's on the ballot next month as the democratic nominee--should be interesting!). I marveled then at the slideshow of photos and how much we've experienced in the four years since we got our digital camera. And of course, there are 15 more years' worth of old film photos that are sitting in albums in my house that I don't currently have a scanner for. I really should bring them out to look at them more. I think Jacob might start getting a kick out of seeing Mommy looking very young, for starters. But regardless...so many memories are contained in those photos. And even just the four years' worth of lovely, vivid digital photos are enough to make me sit back and just try to absorb all that I've experienced.
As much as I've enjoyed looking at the photos, Jacob has really begun to enjoy them as well. He'll ask to look at pictures, then climb up in the armchair with me and watch them. He'll ask about things, point out faces he recognizes, and smile at things that look familiar (or, I assume, fun). He really seems to like it a lot, and I love the bonus cuddle time. And I do hope that I pass on a love of photo memories to Jacob. I hope that he will be like me, frequently looking back at our photos and eventually taking ones of his own. I hope he appreciates the family history I've created, much like I appreciate the many albums that my parents have that document my younger life. I think pictures definitely reinforce memories, and I'm sure there is a lot I would have forgotten without photo albums to look back at.
As I mentioned in my original post (linked to above), it really does make me thankful for all that I've had the opportunity to do and see in the last four years (and beyond). Of course, I'd love to add to that list and create even more wonderful photo opportunities, but right now I just have to be patient and find my moments when I can. I long to take more fantastic postcard-ready photos like I did in Portland and Seattle, or go back to Vegas for the first time in the "digital era", or capture memories of Jacob's first trip to Disney or any other place that will similarly blow his mind. Those moments will come, I suppose, but it's hard to not feel truly grateful--even spoiled--when I see the shots I do have.
The one weird thing that struck me as I've been watching the slideshow is how Jacob has changed. I already know that, of course. I marvel every day at the big boy he's become, and still look at his picture from his birth announcement on the wall in my work cubicle, hardly recognizing the face that looks back at me. I mean, it's Jacob, but everything was SO different then. I forget how tiny he was, how helpless. Even in looking at older pictures, it's odd. He looks a lot more like the Jacob I know, but I tend to forget how little we really knew about him back then. Those old pictures were taken before he started talking (and many before walking or even crawling), before he gained independence and started giving us greater insight into what made him tick. It's almost like the pictures take on added depth now that I truly know WHO I'm looking at. It's almost like he's that much cuter because I know so much more about the boy he's become now. And of course, I knew how ridiculously cute he was then, but I find myself wondering why I didn't appreciate certain moments more or savor certain periods of time with him. But really, I did appreciate it as much as I could at the time, I think. Back in the moment I was certainly distracted by the difficulties of parenthood--sleep deprivation, concern, frustration, lack of patience--and the often overwhelming task of tending to his needs 24/7. But looking back at those pictures, I forget the hard stuff for a moment and just see the joy in the picture. I tend to forget the small details, the trade-offs of baby life vs. toddler life. As much as I get sentimental looking at the pictures, I know I can't have it both ways--both the sweet baby in the picture and the fun, active toddler I have now. Each phase has its great parts and its hard parts, and while the pictures might not show that, that's how it was (and is). While I can enjoy those old pictures, I know I shouldn't long for those days too much because those times had difficulties of their own...just like the pictures I take now will be similarly viewed in a few years when I forget all of the crazy details I wrote about on this blog. I don't think I'm really describing all this like I'd like to, but I hope you get the idea. Long story short, the pictures are an awesome thing to have and all that they represent will never cease to amaze me.
Oh, and one more random note that I forgot to include yesterday...Is anyone else out there completely perplexed by kid shoe sizing and buying? Jacob has been wearing sixes, and while I knew they were probably starting to get tight, he didn't seem to be bothered by them. It also didn't feel like his toes were smushed and when I held them up to his feet they looked fine. Well, on Sunday I took Jacob to Payless because I wanted to get him some nice black dress shoes. I had them measure him, just in case, and oh crap--he's measuring as nearly a 7-1/2! Poor kid. Apparently there's not a huge difference between sizes, but geez. I feel bad...but if he's not making a fuss and they look okay, how could I know? He LOVES to have shoes on, so they couldn't be hurting him that much! Luckily, we had a pair of size 7 sneakers (which I KNOW are the right size, if not too big--Jacob is practically tripping over them and I know his toes aren't squished) sitting in his closet waiting for him. I have pinpointed the aditional shoes I want for him (the basic black ones and a pair of cool, slightly dressy brown sneakers) but need to go to a different Payless to get them in his size. For now we'll use the cool new sneaks and go back to the sixes only for emergencies--dressing up, mud, etc.--until I get the new ones or Jacob starts saying they hurt. But still....I feel like I should get the bad mom of the year award for this one...a size and a half?!