Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Family photos {a day of memories}

Yesterday I had a very trying day.

Yesterday I had a very wonderful day.

Are the two mutually exclusive?

Let me explain.

Every year we send a Christmas card with a photo of the children on it.  It's a nice way for people to see how the children are growing up, and have record of how they look at that age and stage.

Some years I attempt it on my own.

That's, erm, fun.

Some years I have some others to try and make them smile.

That's also fun.

Some years, my incredibly kind brother-in-law has done it, with the help of my awesome sister.

This year, my awesome sister did it, using her incredibly kind husband's equipment!

Eight children.

One photo.

That's the aim.

Yes, well.....

However, for all this to happen, I need to travel, with all 8 children, about an hour and 45 minutes away.  My parents also live nearby, so they offered to feed and water us for the day, as the awesome sister is getting work done in  her house. (Rather you than me, sis - but it will look amazing when it's done!)

We set off, about when I planned to.

Clothes for photo shoot.  Check.

PJs for coming home at night.  Check.

Changing bag.  Check.

Children dressed in suitable clothing..... ummmmmm

I got a gorgeous hooded top, given to Tabitha for her birthday.  So snuggly.  So warm.  Co incredibly cute.  Great for car journeys...

Off we toddled, and all was going swimmingly well, until we hit the M1.  Signs telling me "Major delays after Junction 12".  Well, considering we get on at 13, it wasn't boding well.

I phoned aforementioned awesome sister, and she told me that there had been an accident further down, and I reprogrammed the SatNav (GPS) to avoid the M1.

Well, it avoided it for a little while, then tried to get me back on too soon, resulting in more back roads than we had already experienced.

Then more back roads.

All the time, Tabitha in her cosy jumper.

She started to get moany - she does that, in the car.

Next  thing, Daniel announces "Mum, Tabitha has just had a big vom".

Seems Tabitha gets car sick, when too warm in the car.

So, that added some extra time onto the journey.

Trying to clean her up with a cold, biting wind whipping into the bus, was interesting, with all the other children saying "I'm cold, Mum"!

EVENTUALLY, after a THREE hour journey, we arrived.

It was so lovely to see my parents, my sister and my nieces.  One of the best moments was when my parents told me they LIKED my new glasses.  Given the mixed response I have had elsewhere, that meant a lot.

We ate lunch, then hurried off for the photos to be done.

As my sister finished setting up, I asked an older sibling to take care of Tabitha, whilst I got others ready for the pictures.

Next thing, she fell over and bashed her head - BIG TIME - on some stocks.

Yes, some stocks.

Not the scented, floral variety (yes, there are flowers called stocks)...

The type used to keep prisoners from running off.

(Doesn't every Church's Sunday School room have them?.... I'm going to just leave that there without explanation, because it is quite funny to think of that being there, as if they torture their Sunday School students... bwahahaha)

Large, purple bump on her head.  Terrific.

(Awesome sister says she can edit it out, because she's awesome, don'tcha know?)

Well, we had fun.  Some children posed beautifully.  Some posed hilariously.  Getting the group shot was almost impossible, as Tabitha didn't want to sit still. Then there are the children who keep looking away, or looking at me instead of the camera (oops....).  We did our best, and my awesome sister is working her magic on a finished product.

Then, I went to see the work being done at my sister's house, which is lovely, because now I can "see" it in my mind, instead of just imagining what's happening.

Back to my parents for dinner, and a chat.

The day ended with me helping my Mum, by drying up the dishes.  Seemingly mundane, I guess?

However, as I was thinking about my day, with it's trials, and challenges, this "mundane" made me smile.

I used to dry up the dishes a lot when I was a girl.  You remember the days, before dishwashers? It was, more often than not, a time to chat, and often have fun with siblings.  I may be remembering with rose tinted spectacles, and perhaps we bickered, too.  My memories, today, were happy ones.

It was also precious just to talk, in person, with my Mum. To share recent experiences, and to talk about my children, and how they are growing up.  The challenges of parenting.  Our memories of years gone by.

From start, to finish, it was a day all about family.  Travelling to see family. Family who are generous with their time, efforts, gifts, and homes. Family who God has given me to care for.  Family who, when I got home, had done painting in my utility room, and bathrooms, so that they look super duper. Family who my children got to see in old photos, and giggle at, and exclaim how alike they were to themselves, with great excitement.


Family is a gift.  It's a treasure to be valued and appreciated. I wish I lived closer to my family.  My parents and sister, with her husband and girls, live the closest, and my brothers are over the sea, with their wives, and my nephews. None of them are close, really.  Especially when you have the journey I had yesterday!

Yet, it was so worth it.  So worth it for the moments where I laughed with my sister at my posing 4 year old.  Worth it for seeing my oldest child chat so happily with  his Grandpa.  Worth it see Tabitha giggle when she did Eskimo Kisses with Grandpa.  Worth it to chat with my Mum, in her kitchen like old times.  Worth it to eat a dinner I didn't have to make myself.  Worth it to relive memories when looking at old photos.

Just, worth it, because family IS worth it.

God gave us family.  Right in the beginning, when He saw that it wasn't good for man to be alone, the concept of family began, and it was good.  Two become one, which, if God sees fit, can become three, or more.  Generations are added, and parents become grandparents.  Such wonderful blessing.

Of course, when God established this family unit, they stayed close to each other, in a community sense.  They were able to support and encourage each other in a tangible way.  As the world has become a smaller place, this has shattered.  So few families remain in a close proximity with all their near relatives.  We have phones, FaceTime and Skype, of course, but nothing can replicate actual, physical time together.  It's precious.  It's uplifting.  It's a joy.

Now, as I look back on my day yesterday, I can see that what I am doing as a mother, today, is forging the kind of thoughts, in my children's minds, that I am thinking.  The little things, like singing in the car, laughing along with them at Adventures in Odyssey, or chuckling with them at old photos, are the memories THEY will have as an adult.  Going to visit grandparents.  Having an Aunt willing to spend time taking photos of them, and making them laugh.  They are all memory makers.

Maybe you don't have such happy  family memories.  Well, make sure YOU are making good ones for your children RIGHT NOW! It doesn't have to be big things.  Just the little things are forging happy memories of tomorrow.

As their Mum, I need to put in the effort today, to make the memories of tomorrow.  It doesn't have to be spectacular things - the simple things, like chatting whilst you wash dishes, can be  memory maker. They make memories which remind us of what a blessing our family is, and we can acknowledge God's grace in goodness in giving us to each other.

I truly hope, in the future, our children will look back and think the same.

In the meantime, I will look forward to having the photos to remind me of my wonderful day.

(As well as the ones taken by me, and, well, the picture says it all....)


(I did not have any hand in the making of that ^^^^  - self confession all the way)

1 comment :

  1. What a fabulous day! I hadn't realised Angela was so talented :) . I have become more aware recently of many childhood memories, and often - exactly as you say here - they are not at all related to HUGE events, but little, apparently insignificant times. It really is the *people* that make memories, not the huge-ness of the event. I can feel the warmth in that post, Caroline. It'll be a day that'll stay long in the memory and will, no doubt, give you many hours of happy meditation. Truly every good and perfect gift is from our Lord, and yesterday for you, with all it's joys (and its few trials too!) was one of these wonderful gifts.

    Treasure it :)
    Anne x