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Making Time: Perfect Pictures
Reflecting back on your life – all 3 years of it
By Jason Springer

“Daddy, when I was a baby, I used to be very small.” That’s what Brandon said while exploring his latest obsession: looking back on his short, full life.

Brandon can now spend hours leafing through the photo albums that my wife somehow finds time to compile and catalog of our lives together – dating back years before Brandon and Adam made our family complete.

When you’re only 3½, reflecting back on your life is a relatively short exercise (you would think). For Brandon, it’s all-consuming. He takes out albums, one at a time, and makes comments on everything he sees. And once is never enough. He asks for albums based on the pictures he remembers are inside. He demands: “Daddy, I want the book with the ball pit one,” or “Daddy, I want to see the bath time one.”

We sit down on the chair together and go through each one – multiple times. Though my wife often comments about how she feels so far behind in making these albums – especially now that we have Adam (which means double recordkeeping) – it’s pretty amazing to look back and see all that has changed since the day Brandon was born, which is thoroughly documented.

It’s fun to stroll down memory lane and observe the amazement on Brandon’s face as he realizes he’s already gone from the size of Adam (okay, even smaller than Adam at birth) to the growing toddler he is today. Thanks to snapshots of the red-faced screaming newborn in the bathtub, he walks around the house saying things like, “Daddy, when I was a baby, I hated my bath. I cried. But now I love bath time.” And then turns a few pages and declares, “When I was a baby, I couldn’t eat food. Like Adam can’t. But now I can. I’m a big boy!”

Somehow, exploring pictures of the past has led to many new lines of inquiry, including most recently “Daddy, when did you and Mommy get married?” I wasn’t sure he even understood what marriage is. Nonetheless, we took out our wedding album and showed him the pictures. He poured over pages and told us that we looked “handsome and pretty all dressed up.” I explained that first we got married and then he joined our family after that. “But how long ago, Daddy?” he asked, so I told him how it was 5 years ago, and he is 3 years old now. After attempting to count on his fingers and determine the difference for himself, he seemed to accept that answer.

“Brandon, what does it mean to get married?” I finally inquired. “I don’t know,” he replied innocently.

Then we moved on to a new album. This one included shots of places we’ve traveled and visited as a family, both before having children and after with them. Suddenly, Brandon saw a picture that reminded him of how much he liked going to the beach. It made him realize that our trip to the beach a few months ago was not his first one. “Oh yeah Daddy, I did fly a kite before! I like kites! When I was little, I flew kites!” (Uh hello, you’re still little, my man.) Further in the album, we see pictures with animals at the zoo and Brandon turned to me with a sweet look to say, “Daddy, can we go to the zoo again? Please?” But now his mind is racing from all the photos, so that is followed up quickly with “Daddy!! I liked the green ice cream, but not the chips in it. Can we get ice cream soon?”

After we finished looking through the albums, we went outside to play. Once Brandon was all set on his bike, he turned to me and said “Daddy, take my picture.” I said, “Okay, no problem bud, but why do you want me to take your picture now?” Without hesitation, he replied, “Well, we need something for the next album Mommy makes.”

October 2020
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