Last Saturday was my 46th birthday. Maybe I should be more upset over that, but I suspect I’m saving up my angst for the big five-oh, so I was calmish about it. Ed gave me a quite lovely gift. Back in college, my Nanna and Pop-Pop gave me 8 slide carousels with pictures from the years that they raised me, from six months of age to six years. We have carried those slides with us since then, storing them when we were out of the country and making room for them everywhere else we went. Now and then we’d pull out the slide projector and actually watch a few. For my birthday this year, Ed bought a nice scanner and scanned all 900 slides for me, carefully cleaning each slide and color correcting each image. Wow.
Seeing them again, in chronological order, was an emotional thing. I lived with Nanna and Pop-Pop and they raised me until the day after my sixth birthday, when my mother, who had recently remarried, showed up and reclaimed me against my will and their wishes. Seeing the early pictures was delightful and nostalgic. Seeing the ones later, knowing what was coming, made me uneasy. And seeing the ones taken after I no longer lived with them, knowing how homesick and displaced I felt in those pictures and knowing their smiles masked how deeply they missed me, was upsetting. But it was a gift to see the pictures, to be reminded of how extremely blessed I was to be in their care for those years, and to have them in my life until they passed away. Thank you, Ed, for giving me that gift.