Thursday, September 10, 2015

{Lovely} Chaos

I've been collecting small
antique picture frames for 
a few years, intending to
fill them with images of
my extended family's pets, 
 spanning several generations.

The lives of these creatures
are fleeting compared to our
human ones, their memories
often footnotes to our longer
and more complicated stories.

The idea of seeing all of
these little furry faces 
in frames of their own
truly makes my heart sing.

We were here.  We cuddled and
romped and napped and often,
waited for you to come home.

We loved you.

I'd gathered about eight
vintage frames and was eager
to sift through my parents'
archives on a recent visit this
summer, searching for pictures
of dearly-loved four-legged
friends from my family's past.

In addition to their own photos,
Mom and Dad have photos
they've inherited from their
parents, so there were boxes,
envelopes and albums of all
shapes and sizes to explore.

I barely scratched the surface.

When I came to some boxes of
loose photos that belonged to my
Gigi,  I found images from her
childhood (she turns 98 this
month) and adult life mixed up
with all the seasons of her
children's, grandchildren's and
great-grandchildren's lives. 

One moment a tiny GiGi was
peering warily at the camera
 from the early 1920's; the next
a glamorous grandma version
of her stood in front of the
gates at Graceland, her arm
entwined with my own, an
awkward 12 year-old.

Although I was on a mission 
to locate pet photos, my first
impulse when I found Gigi's
box was to sort her photos
chronologically, so that they
made sense.

But I hesitated, struck by the
beauty of the chaos.  This mess
of decades and generations very
likely mirrors the images which
{I hope} still dance through
her dear mind, trapped in 
the web of dementia.

A beautiful slideshow of
those she loved and who loved
her in return, including many
of the furry variety : )

As someone with years of photos
on her computer and a persistent
sense that I need to do something
with them, I felt a certain relief
at the idea that printing these
photos and then tossing them in 
a box might be all the action 
that's really required.

While my kids seem to prize
the scrapbooks I tenaciously
created to capture and document
their first decades of life, I
can also imagine their delight
in someday discovering an
unsorted box of photos from
their childhood; a mash-up
of who they once were as well
as a loving reflection of the
ones who captured the moments.

And yes, that chaos will 
definitely include wagging 
tails and fuzzy faces : )


{All images my own.
The older ones are from my
family's collection.}