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Mother's Day / Family Photos

Sunday, May 14, 2006 1:54 AM

To my mother, and to the courageous, capable women who nurture and raise our children, thank you.

To the women who share the partnership of marriage with those they love as they assay life's journey, thank you.

To my wife, thank you for being there to prop me up when I fall, overlook my faults, and all the other little things I take for granted.

As it's Mother's Day weekend, my wife and I stopped by to take Mom out to lunch. We stopped over at the assisted living community where Dad is, and he looks to be doing well - he remembered me as well as my wife, but he's confabulating other details of family and work relationships.

Back home, I spent a moment looking through some of my father's papers for items that I should actually have in my home now.

I came across a number of old family photos, some dating back to my father's own childhood.

Folks, if you have a box of family photos, be sure to talk to your parents, your aunts and uncles, and whoever else might recognize the faces in those pictures. If you wait until it's a task in the shadow of someone's passing, you may not know who or what or when or where those photos were taken.

More than likely, you'll throw them away. And with the misplaced memories will go family history.

For example, one of the photos we found was a picture of Dad when he was a boy, at the Chinese Pavilion of the World's Fair in 1940. Remarkably, you can see similarities in his face with that of my nephew and godson, even though you might not think so on a first glance.

Perhaps I'm being over sensitive because my father's plight is the degradation of his memory. Perhaps it's because both my and my wife's family have a boxload of old photographs to go through - a task already complicated by the passing of grandparents and my wife's father.

But since my Dad can no longer remember, it's kind of up to the rest of us. Not in the sense of having to master the trivial details of his life, but to remember important things. There's a photo from my parents' wedding in the mix. A photo from a Christmas before my younger sister was born (which also fixes the photo's location). And another family photo, with only 9 adults and 11 kids ... as contrasted to our current total of over 120 people across four generations.

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