My mom gave me a box of old family photos and said, “This is from my fat era. Look through them, take what you want, and throw the rest away. I don’t want to see them again.” She is like that: tossing aside decades from her past (from MY past!) because she thought she was too heavy or had a bad haircut.
I browsed through stacks of truthfully very incriminating photos from the early 90s and found this older one, pre-fat era. Pre-divorce, pre-sister-gone-rogue, pre-remarriages, pre-everything. We look like a happy family, a cohesive unit, and that’s how I remember us when I think about my childhood. I propped it up beneath my brass lamp and look at it every night before I turn out the lights.
Maybe it’s a little sad, to revere the past like that, but I’ve always been an overly-nostalgic person. As a teenager, crippled with an anxiety disorder and bad complexion, I was nostalgic for childhood. As a child, freaked out by my increasing autonomy and personhood, I was nostalgic for babyhood. As a baby, I was probably nostalgic for the warm, small place I’d previously occupied in my mother’s belly.
And I realized, looking at this standard-issue Olan Mills-circa-1987 family portrait (am I wrong? don’t we all have photos exactly like this, same poses, same autumnal woodland backgrounds?), that I have become the family historian. My mom no longer loves my dad, my dad no longer loves my mom, my sister no longer loves my parents. I am the common denominator, the only one who still loves them all. It is my job to remember.
Separate thought: to aide in the digital excavation efforts of future anthropologists, I realized I should link to my other blog, the one I just quit upon realizing I was too square for a Tumblr.
You’re welcome, future peoples, and also sorry about the Ozone Layer.