Dinner had been eaten + the presents were all opened. The night was seeming to come to an end as we finished celebrating the annual ‘Gustke Family Christmas’ with my dad’s side of the family. I’m not sure exactly what was said or by who specifically, but one way or another, someone brought up my parents wedding. It might have been a comment about my dad’s mustache on his wedding day …
*Note, this is NOT a wedding day photo, but the mustache looked something like this, just longer if you can believe it!!
… but before we knew it, their wedding album was out on the dining room table + all 14 of us were gathered round looking through images of my parents (+ their parents + siblings) on their wedding day. Well, that led to the unearthing of the photo albums from my parent’s entertainment center in which we proceeded to page through photo after photo after photo of all my aunts’ + uncles’ wedding pictures. The adults were either on the floor laughing or sulking in embarrassment (not really, but you get the point ; )) from memories that took place on those special occasions. The kids … we were laughing, commenting on how GOOD our parents looked (!!!), joking about trends + fashion, + pointing out photos of people we recognized from our parents young adulthood. This went on for about an hour or so, postponing the departure of extended family from our home.
After everyone had finally left, my dad turned to us + said, “Now that was a fun night!”, then grabbed his beer + ventured off to his “man cave”. The truth is, it was such a fun night. I haven’t seen my parents, cousins, aunts, + uncles bond + laugh + tell stories together like they did around the dining room table that night in a long time. For the adults, it was a reliving of some of the greatest days + memories of their lives … perhaps ones they had forgotten about. And for us kids, an opportunity to, yes, make fun of our parents, but also to learn + understand them more, + to get a glimpse of what life was like for THEM when they were our age. As silly as it may sound, that night is one I will not forget.
A few weeks later, as I was reminiscing about the experience, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “It was all because of those photo albums …”. If my parent’s, aunts’, + uncles’ photos would have never been preserved in a photo album, that moment or that night would have never occurred. I mean, c’mon, do you really think we would have all gathered around the computer screen to pull up files from folders of past wedding days? I don’t believe so. We were holding those photos, passing them around, touching the memories in a way. And it was beautiful.
Don’t get me wrong, we back up all, + I mean ALL of our photos on the computer (+ several external hard drives to be exact), but after that experience this past Christmas, I realized how important it is for me to have our OWN photos in albums, too. Our memories. Caleb + I. So I bought some photo albums + ordered a ton of 4×6 prints : ) The past few days I’ve been setting aside time to preserve our memories in these albums.
After all, that experience around the dining room table … after the dishes were washed + presents unwrapped … I cannot wait for it to be us. With OUR siblings, OUR nieces + nephews, + OUR children <3