One of the activities that we participated in was a trip down memory lane with a look through old photo albums. Since it was William's first time meeting my parents, it was almost obligatory and took on a particularly importance now that all the children have been reunited. While looking through the albums, I noticed a distinctive absence of pictures of me. When my brother left, my parents stopped taking pictures. An occasional school picture was found, but there wasn't much after age 7 until my sisters took up photography in high school (and those pictures were usually taken to document the horror on my face at the latest prank they pulled). I think this realization made me subconsciously trigger-happy with the camera.
So it took me a while to weed through the images, but I found a couple that I wanted to share:
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned how a good many of the photos I took on this trip were of manatees. I also noted how many of the photos were pretty bad. In my defense, manatees are not the easiest of creatures to capture on film. For one, I had to hold the camera at odd angles to peer over the fawning crowd. Secondly, the sublimely clear waters of the spring distort the shapes and have a rippling reflective glare that can mask what lies beneath the surface. And finally, I was so bewitched by watching them playing and going about their marine-mammal lives that I forgot that manatees are not exactly known for their distinctive markings, unusual shapes, or vivid colorings. To be blunt, without their slow, watery gliding, they sort of resemble boulders or logs. Combine all these factors... and you get A LOT of bad pictures. With that said, we had a great time looking at the manatees and really enjoyed seeing so many of them.
All of the grown-ups agreed to only get presents for the kids and not get presents for each other. William and I got Max a "Hulk Smash" action figurine. Of course, we didn't wrap it sturdily enough and once Max picked it up, the doll's head popped through the wrapping paper prematurely. This created a chain reaction.
I wanted to end this post with the picture of the perfumes, because family is a lot like a perfume. A perfume is a combination of essential fragrances that create the head, heart, and base. The formulas can be simple or complex, but each is unique to the ingredients added. These ingredients are like our experiences or memories, added one at a time. And like perfumes, sometimes family can get a little overwhelming at times. Even so, perfume like family accents our lives... it can reinvigorate us, inspire us, and give us cause to remember. And also like perfume, the bonds of familial ties are often invisible to the naked eye... but are surely there and can be detected at close proximity.