At our home, we have a large wall in our dining room filled with vintage family photos. Each set of grandparents have their wedding photo displayed as well as every great-grandparent wedding pic we could find. Family high school graduation photos and childhood snapshots are shown. It’s a gathering of generations and our two year old son can tell visitors about most of the images.
Recently, we thought it would be even better if he knew the family anecdotes that accompanied the photographs to learn more of our families’ past. We spent some time with grandparents talking about the photos. The interviews that ensued didn’t conclude how anyone expected.
In my parents’ wedding picture, my mom is being helped out of a car by my father, both wearing the best seventies nuptial attire of the day. When my mom told our little guy about her wedding day, she said it was the happiest day of her life. She loves Grandpa so much and is so glad she married him. She wore a pretty white dress and Papa wore a brown suit. Grandma told a few sweet family anecdotes that I had not heard before including one about how nervous her father was. I felt really blessed to hear her telling of the day – it had been too long. Our little guy nodded and smiled, listening to the stories but was fixated on something else: “What about your white car? You don’t have a white car any more.”
“You’re right,” she told him. “That car in the picture is from a long time ago. I don’t have it any more. Now I have a red car and I like it even better.”
To that, my little man said, “But you still have Papa. He’s from a long time ago too? His hair is white like the car.” Before my mom could get out much more than a stammer, he concluded, nodding matter-of-factly, “You like Papa more than the white car.” What understanding this toddler had about love ! We both agreed that she likes Papa more than the white car and will like him for a lot longer.