With my daughter’s high school graduation looming near, I decided I’d better get started on designing her graduation announcement. It’s always  handy to have an artist in the house! One idea involved using a few photos of her from growing up, so I pulled out the family’s old photo albums and began pouring over them.

The kids were busy doing their nightly Wii Dance workout, so hubby, lost without his big TV,  decided to hang out and reminisce with me. While it began as a quest for the perfect baby photo, it soon turned into a long, meandering walk down Memory Lane.

In this digital age, folks rarely use photo albums anymore. Some folks scrapbook, but I don’t really get spending all that money and time to make a page with one photo on it seem memorable. The last photo album I put together was probably around 2003, which was the time we finally knuckled down and bought a digital camera. After that all our family memories went right into iPhoto.

Yet there are roughly 15 books with yellowing pages that are packed with the early years of our family’s history. Hubby and I each have a book or two of old photos from the times before our ships passed in the night. Photos of us posing with friends we don’t see anymore, or with family members who have left us. We had slimmer figures and thicker hair.

There are photos of me with baby nieces and nephews who are now married and off making their way in the adult world. There are photos of brother and sister in laws that thruogh divorce were cut from my life. There are photos of us living in houses and apartments from places we no longer call home; New Jersey, Florida…and we try to pinpoint what was going on in our lives as we gaze at that little sliver of history.

And then there are the baby pictures. Hell, I must have shot through 100 rolls of film in the first year of my oldest daughter’s life. My second kid? Maybe 8 rolls of film. But in my defense, my second girl spent most of her first two years crying, so it was no use wasting film on her. By the time she stopped sobbing and started smiling, we had gone digital.

Our photo albums spend most of their time tucked in the bottom cabinet of my entertainment unit. They come out from time to time when I need a specific photo for Facebook or this blog. It’s also fun to flip through the pages when family is visiting – to see how we’ve evolved over the past 20 years.

In this day and age of Flickr and Instagram my photo books must seem horribly square. They take up space; they are cumbersome and heavy when you have to move, but I love them. They are my family’s encyclopedias, lovingly assembled and worn from years and years of revisiting our past.