I’ve been looking through all my old pictures that Dutch has transferred at various times from my phone to the hard drive. It is strange to revisit a slideshow of one’s hairdos over the last eighteen years. We have been married long enough that flipping through our pictures means seeing the evolution of pudge-faced toddlers to lanky big kids. The house changes subtly in the background and the trees outside grow bigger.
It felt a little like that time I decided to finally read the Harry Potter books after shunning them for like twenty years because GIANT TRENDS annoy me and I basically HATE THEM, like my darlings Sarah P. and Louise P. We don’t need people foisting on us a charming and inventive School for Witchcraft and Wizardry! So back off!
Except then one summer I scraped through the days with Jack, who if he ever started a garage band, could call it, the I Hate Summers. Or The Interminable Summer of Death Band. Or simply Ennui. Because Jack needs the structured routines of the school year, not eleven weeks of driving me to drink during long free-form summer days.
But Jack isn’t starting a garage band. His garage shenanigans involve turning on the document shredder, pushing around the lawnmower, and tossing bits of garbage into the backseat of the parked van, not wailing on guitar.
Anyway, Harry Potter. I rejected the books for years purely on the basis of everyone in the world loving them. I don’t do pop culture peer pressure. See previous post re: the contrary that is me.
But then one awful late July, I needed escape and inexplicably started reading Rowling’s bestsellers. And I LOVED THEM. Oh my stars, did I love them. I admit to being 100% smitten with all of it, people. I read all seven books in a couple of weeks, intentionally ignoring my children whenever possible. The series cast a spell against the hard end-of-summer monotony that is life for the special-needs family, whose options for getting out and going places are crap.
As I finished each book, Dutch and I would watch the corresponding movie that evening after putting the guys to bed. And in a demonstration of the magic wrought by the passage of time, the actors in the films aged from children to teens on the cusp of independence, all within 14-15 days.
Daniel, Emma, and Rupert grew up before our eyes. It was mesmerizing—the best way to partake of the Potter series. Sometimes being crotchety and dismissive of trends can lead to something wonderful. I’m grown up enough to say this now.
But that is not the point of this post. Instead, it is this epiphany:
We have been a family for some time now. We aren’t newlyweds anymore, or students or graduate students, or fresh-faced twenty-somethings, or fledgling parents. The earth rotates and the years ebb, leaving photos on the hard drive and banked memories.
I was surprised at the rush I felt in realizing that we’ve been around the block a few times, and yet my family keeps slogging on. We have weathered some things but we are still here. The hairdos keep changing, The guys keep growing taller, smarter, and kinder. The house is definitely in a state of entropy, but it’s standing.
Looking at those pictures on the computer dialed back my worries about the future. I saw the past; we had made it through.