In a sentimental mood

After perceiving myself as nonproductive for “wasting” my first day of #SummerVacation2021, I resolved to accomplish more something today.

So, I sat down and finished reading the latest issue of InStyle. Done.

I followed that hard labor by addressing the remaining Sunday papers, as the Roomba skirted it’s way around the house picking up tumbleweeds of Jeter’s summer shed.

The laundry was put away and the morning dishes were washed. My new composter, courtesy of this cool program, was delivered and set up.

The day’s heat made staying outdoors unappealing. I went back inside and sat down in my dining room where it dawned on me that I had absolutely nowhere to be or anything to do. I exhaled.

My new computer beckoned so I set up some banking stuff and paid a few July bills. It occurred to me that this might be the time to finally begin a task I originally planned to take on more than a year ago.

Somehow, however, the isolation of the pandemic had not provided the impetus to start, much less complete, this intended gift. I accessed the collection of photos I have hosted on Shutterfly.com and created a new folder for my project.

Then I dove in.

The oldest photos on the site were from February, 2005 aka my youngest’s birth month. There were graphic pictures from his delivery that made me squirm and moments of sweetness that made my teeth ache.

The photos continued in chronological order telling the story of an important chapter of my life and I got a little lost in them. There were thousands of pictures – primarily of my sons, and I found myself awed by the smiles and experiences and important moments captured on “film.” There were so many.

I didn’t dawdle over the pictures. I was collecting them for a specific purpose and decided I’d rather have too many than not enough. Ultimately, I selected nearly 900 images.

There were a couple of times, though, when a memory triggered by a photo stopped me dead in my tracks. The recollections were so intense, complete with sounds and smells, that my breath was stolen. Or perhaps it was just traded for the immersive, nearly deja vous, experience triggered by the pictures.

My eyes welled. Repeatedly.

There were moments of sadness, prompted by pictures of family members lost, but more than anything else I felt pride.

My kids have enjoyed a life of good fortune, opportunities and love. They come from a good family who provide them with support and history. They’ve visited beautiful places. I helped make all of that happen.

I felt my heart expand, it’s larger size quickly demanding more attention than my full tear glands.

The emotional pangs I experienced didn’t make me pine for a recurrence of those days as much as they caused me to wish that I had understood that it wasn’t always going to be that way and how quickly those years would pass. 

A response probably about right for a person in their mid 50s, yes?

I don’t want those days back. My sentimentality feels like a book closed with a satisfactory sigh rather than a desire to return to that time of my life. Those years were productive and busy, but I wouldn’t be interested in repeating them.

But, inspired by those memories and emotions, I will approach what comes next with a deeper knowledge and appreciation – for life, myself and all the feels.

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