In one picture, my daughter is hamming it up for the camera, all smiles with her cousin. In another shot on another page, my two sons jockey for the best position with our dog, who sits straight and tall like she’s a professional model.
And later on another page, there’s a picture of my wife and I holding hands and walking together on a wooded trail, heads-down deep in thought.
Close to ten years ago I started collecting family pictures for a yearly family calendar. The project started small, but has turned into a monstrosity. I have stacks of each year’s calendar sitting in an old desk drawer.
In each year’s version, we include pictures of our kids, cousins, grandparents, and close friends. We print the calendars, bind them, and give them out as Christmas presents to the grandparents. Sitting at my desk at work, I love looking up and seeing each month’s montage of pictures and key dates hanging above my computer. And God knows, even in this day of smartphones and Google Calendar, having everyone’s birthday and anniversary in one spot has saved my butt more than a time or two.
I’ve found too that leafing through the old calendars has become a favorite pastime. I love to see how the kids have grown. I even love seeing how much father time has changed me. I’m older. I have less hair and a bigger waste-line. I’ve come to see close-up how time has changed.
Besides the obvious, I love looking at the calendars for other things too, like how things haven’t changed:
–Family is still family.
My kids can’t all fit in the back seat of the car anymore without one of them getting seriously cramped or even trampled on, but they still hug each other. It could be a good ruse, but they still seem to put up with one another and, at least for my sake, love one another.
–A smile is still a smile.
I’ve gotten more than a few “duh” looks from my kids over the years, but they still have the brightest smiles that light up a room and turn a father’s cold heart to mush.
–They’ll always need mom and dad (if only for back-up support).
My kids rely more on their smartphones to keep track of things like dentist appoints, test dates, and a million other events that we all have on our calendars, but they still like to see the pictures we have on the calendar. They still want to know that they matter to mom and dad.
I’ll take any of the week, even if it does mean that I’m getting another year older.