We Are Family

It was finally the day. You know what I mean. It’s that thing you say you’re going to get to, but it never seems to be the day to do it? Well, it was finally the day. I reworked the rogues’ gallery.

I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted a gallery of pictures of my family up on the wall where I could see it all the time. Pictures of the kids as they grew up, and of special times and people in our lives. There are pictures of the kids all together, of them separately, and of extended family. There are pictures of the kids when they were little and some of them all grown up. My husband’s mom calls it my rogues’ gallery. I find that I look at those pictures often. It is amazing that we have come so far, this little family of mine.

The next few years will bring a bit of change to our family as my kids continue to grow as young adults. I’ve probably celebrated my last Christmas with them all living under my roof. I am both sad and excited for that. Sad for me, excited for them. Getting the kids out of the house is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? I mean, that is an oversimplification of the goal, but at its very basic level, it is the goal. Still…

Anyway. (Breathe)

Those pictures on my wall represent moments in time. My kids often say, “Why do you have those pictures out? We don’t look like that anymore.” But I love remembering the moments. Our lives are made up of those moments. Moments that are gone forever, but live on in pictures and memories. I find the older I get, I am thankful for the pictures as the mind begins to misplace some of those moments.

One of my favorite photos in the gallery is one of my two oldest boys when they were young. It was taken from behind as they stand at a creek near Cades Cove in Tennessee. They are looking into the water together. I often wonder what they were talking about in that moment. Another favorite is of Evan when he was just three or four. He decided to kneel in the picture because he thought it made him look better. And then there is the one of Laura on prom day. Beautiful. And the one where Matthew is baptizing Ryan? Mercy.

I especially like the one of the four of them together goofing off when they were supposed to be looking at the camera and smiling. My real favorites are those with the four kids together. They just seem to fit together like a set. Like pieces of a puzzle, they are all so different and unique, but they fit. Like family fits. It’s kind of funny… families. They can be strong and fragile at the same time. Strong because of all those moments, fragile because they matter so much and should be handled with care.

I imagine 2017 will add many new moments for our family. Some will be joyful and fun, some sad or disappointing. There will be adventures, trials, and triumphs. We will string those moments together, and add them to all the rest. Some of them will likely end up in the rogues’ gallery next time I get around to updating it.

I’m guessing you have a gallery of your own. Maybe it’s not on your wall, but I bet you have a gallery of people and moments that matter to you. It is the people in my rogues’ gallery that matter the most to me. They make me laugh the loudest and cry the hardest. When I boil everything else down to what matters the most, it’s right there on that wall. That’s just the way it is. We are family.

So what do you think?

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