My husband and I got married right after college. We have been together almost half our lives now, so most of my memories are also our memories. Whether it’s because I’m the wife or because my personality naturally inclined to it, I’m the one who preserves our memories whether they are in photographs, on film, or—these days—digital images.
My job as the Curator of Us started with our wedding. I was the one who hired photographer and arranged for a wedding video, and the one who’s maintained the results ever since.
Once we had children, I took the pictures of the kids’ first steps, kindergarten graduations, soccer games, and Halloween costumes. Sadly, I don’t think I’m a very good photographer, but I’m still glad to have every slightly-blurry smile and poorly-composed group shot.
After my in-laws passed away, I discovered I had a new job. Now I’m the one who takes care of my husband’s childhood archives. Much of his family’s memorabilia was lost in a house fire, but we did have a box of film and photo albums I’d borrowed from his mom to make into updated albums.
The timing was a real coincidence—his mother gave me a huge box of family media just two weeks before everything else was lost. I feel like it’s an honor to maintain the history of the family I married into.
It took a long time before we could open the storage box holding all the albums and videos, but when we did it was like discovering treasure.
My husband is the sweetest, kindest guy, but he’s not one to talk a lot about himself, so being able to look at old pictures always leads to the best stories about his dad working for NASA during the height of the space program or his mom’s huge family that’s given him dozens of cousins.
The best stories are the little ones. His childhood pets, their life in Louisiana when his parents owned a hardware store in a little town a lot like Mayberry.
Seeing images of my husband as a child shows me the little boy who grew into the man I love. I see his boyhood accomplishments, the special family events, the ordinary in-between moments that made up his life before us.
I’m always surprised and delighted to see what he was like as a kid. Now he would never wear a Dallas Cowboy’s uniform and dance around in his Star Wars bedroom to the song Greased Lightning from the movie Grease. Well, maybe if I asked nicely.
Anne Parris is coffee-dependent wife and mom of four living in Richmond, Virginia. She blogs at Not A Supermom and is also one of the managing partners of the on-line magazine for midlife women, MidlifeBoulevard.com.