As you ascend our stairs, the photos on the walls tell the story of our family. The photos from long ago (okay, ten years) show my husband and I, thinner, younger and surrounded by friends. They’re pictures of parties and festivals and debauchery – there’s a picture of my husband trying to eat the “Chest Mix” in my cleavage. Everyone’s always holding up a glass. There are pictures of weddings and christenings – family’s, friends’ and our own. There’s one wedding picture we have to take down because the couple’s divorced. There’s a photo of a friend I lost ten years ago. There are pictures of friends that grew apart.
But the most striking thing is the difference between the two walls. On the older side, we have group shots – from two people to twenty. On the more recent side we have pictures of ourselves and the kids. I noticed this as I was choosing pictures for the frames. One wall depicts our life in Northern Virginia and Maryland – before my husband and I met, during our courtship and the first few months of our marriage. The other wall depicts our life in Seattle. We have two pictures with friends in Seattle – the same two families in both. The rest are all pictures of our kids – a few with us, but mostly them.
Those pictures make me sad, because they show just how few friends we had in Seattle. We went to parties there; we saw people; but I guess we never felt the need to document those times. I should add, at this point, that my husband, who’s the family photographer (because he’s good at it, not because he’s committed), never brought the camera anywhere in Seattle – including the delivery room for the birth of our son. I don’t know why he “forgot” the camera so much. Was there nothing to shoot because he forgot the camera or did he forget the camera because there was nothing to shoot? And even with the prevalence of smart phones, we still don’t have anybody in our phone pictures but ourselves. What it tells me is that, for six years, we missed out on the good times that we used to share.
The good news is that we’re back, and once again we’re enjoying friends and parties and events. Just last night, my husband and I were dancing at a friend’s party, surrounded by so many of the people we love. I whispered in his ear “It just feels good.” He knew exactly what I meant.
So my mission last night was to take photos of us with friends. I failed, for the most part. I took some pictures of our friends, though. And we’re seeing friends today and next weekend and the weekend after that. My goal is to buy a new camera and to bring it everywhere. And maybe we can fill the walls with friends once again.