Apr 24, 2016

The photo album/holding life in my hands

A time machine. An emotional staircase downwards. And self therapy.

Trouble 1 is turning 30! That’s amazing. Not that I feel like it was yesterday and time has gone by like a blink of an eye, not at all.  I am not surprised 30 years have passed. But the fact that my first born baby is a grown up man. That’s pretty amazing.

I have been a diligent photographer ever since I bought my first camera at age 12. I used to put together photo albums and I have a cupbord full of them, my life documented in pictures up until I was 30. And then what happened? Well Trouble 1 happened and then Trouble 2, and there simply wasn’t time for albums. 

I didn’t slow down on my actual photographing though. Still using B&W as a base. Which was optimistic of course, because my time in the dark room was down to zero those first years and then only used for more arty projects. So my color pictures became more frequent instead.

I’ve kept them in boxes, like most people do. Waiting for that peaceful time to come when I would quietly sit down and enjoy the pleasure of making albums for my two little boys. It’s funny how peaceful times have a tendency of never showing up. Then I put up a goal: for their graduation. Didn’t happen. When they were turning 20. Didn’t happen. Now, goddamn’t, my first born is turning 30, it has to happen!!!

And it is happening. It hasn’t been peaceful. Nor quiet. Because of an intense job winter and then myself turning 60 it hasn’t been any breathing space what so ever, but for the last 2,5 weeks I’ve been spending all the time I could scrape up digging deep down in memories and emotions.

As I am a well organized person the practical aspect of the whole thing hasn’t been a problem. All the pictures are archived in years and events. Christmases, vacations, birthdays. It’s just picking them, one after one. No, the real work has been the emotional part.

To, 30 years later, be looking at my growing belly and swelling breasts (naked of course, this was Sweden in the eighties), a new born baby, renovating and adding on the house, building a home, the start of a family, all the close friends always around…

…is exhausting. Where did it all go?

These first years were so happy. They really were. I had to fight hard for my children (complicated pregnancies and deliveries) and was incredibly grateful for them. They had a loving, responsible and present father and we lived this idyllic life on the countryside  surrounded by friends in the same phase of life, lots of babies. Like every toddler family we were constantly tired, sick from colds and slept in shift to get by. But the pictures are mostly sunny summers, naked little kids running around in the grass, grandma feeding them blueberries and milk on the bakers cottage doorstep.

So what happened? Well, to be prosaic, time passed, the kids grew up, their parents grew apart, most of the friends did the same, grand parents died and that’s that. To say it is all gone is neither true nor fair. But it’s changed. Of course. The baker’s cottage has been a storage instead of a summer house for many years now, but I am hoping to get a chance to change that some day. My sons are around, for which I am incredibly grateful, so are their girlfriends, new family members. I am still here, taking care of the place myself, which is a challenge in my physically restricted situation, but a challenge of my choice.

I am going through those photos. Filling page after page in the album. I can only do a few at a time. Then I have to take a break. Breath. Process. Go back. Write. Write Trouble 1’s story. As well as mine. Hold our story in my hands. Literary. Look at it. Touch it.

The 2,5 weeks only gave time for Trouble 1’s first five years. I have barely started. The boxes are filled with pictures up until 2007, when I went digital. I will continue. Imagine when I have turned all those pictures into a story. My children's story. My grown up life’s story. And I can hold it in my hands.

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