The pictures are just a small reminder of everything that is in my heart. Faces I miss and moments I would relive in a heartbeat if I could. Some of them are more than that, too.

“Mom? Are you crying?”

Connor stood behind me looking bewildered.

I dried my eyes and shook my head.

“Of course not! What makes you think that?”

He looked at me for a moment and then shrugged.

“Oh, just the tears running down your face.”


I was just looking for a baby picture of him. Since he’s a fifth grader and soon moving on to middle school, they wanted to put a then/now picture in the yearbook — so I was rifling through boxes to see what I could find.

I rarely print pictures these days, I just snap a photo and then upload to the social media site of my choice and assume that family generations to come will flip through random pictures of my dinner and the dog in various positions.

That is if the devices we use now aren’t totally obsolete, just like my old Debbie Gibson tape the boys found at my parents’ house the other day. They slid it into Mom’s tape deck like it was an Egyptian artifact.

“You mean it plays on BOTH sides?”

Today, though, I needed a printed picture, and that meant rifling through the guest room closet.

That is where boxes overflow with black and white family pictures, albums, and two baby books I have yet to fill out.

And as I dove into the closet and pulled out pictures, I got lost in the stories they told.

My Granny and her best friend, Virginia, standing back to back with matching pregnant bellies.

Grandpa floating down Salt River in his jon boat, drinking a beer.

My mom and her brother proudly smiling in front of her first car, an MG convertible.

Then my parents wedding photos surfaced, and soon after came pictures of my brother and me.

Our old basset hound, Smokey, sticking his tongue out for the camera (we captured him at mid-yawn). A rather creepy picture of my 5th birthday party where my mom hired a clown with balloons.

As I flipped through memories, my heart started to swell.

Is that what life becomes? Does all the impact we hope to make on this earth one day condense into a series of non-chronological still frames, shoved into a guest room closet in a box mislabeled Halloween Decorations?

Dang. I hope not.

Then again, all this nostalgia forming a lump my throat is a pretty good indication that the lives in these pictures meant a whole lot more.

The pictures are just a small reminder of everything that is in my heart. Faces I miss and moments I would relive in a heartbeat if I could. Some of them are more than that, too.

My Uncle Terry, who died tragically in a car accident at 18-years old, smiles at me from his school photo. I would have never even known what he looked like if Granny hadn’t saved these precious pictures. (Because unless you kept the negative, there was no way to just reprint a picture back in 1955).

And then came the arsenal of memories: The Duncan’s 2003 B.C. (before children).

Our light up fish tank coffee table (this was Shawn’s gateway drug to the flashing palm tree) that housed an Oscar fish, brilliantly named Oscar, who patrolled the open side of the tank waiting for toes, fingers, or articles of clothing to jump at and bite.

Then when we moved back into my childhood home — both of standing in front of it. Newly married with no idea of what was to come.

Oh, but my heart.

There was the picture I’d hoped to find. Connor’s kindergarten picture. They were his school pictures, and I was convinced I’d lost the entire package. I held it to my heart and tried to wrap my mind around my baby going to middle school next year.

And after that will be high school. Driving. The prom. And good Lord above, then he will head off to college, and Logan will quickly follow.

Then it’s back to just Shawn, me, and probably more flashing yard ornaments.

And that’s when Connor found me crying into the picture albums.

“So, mom, are you okay?”

I smiled at the young man my boy is becoming and made a promise to print more pictures to shove into the closet.

“I’m fine,” I said. “Just very blessed.”