One of the many projects that has been sitting on my to do list has been to dig through all of my old photos to find my favorites to print and hang on the walls. I’ve been terrible over the years of just moving them from my camera to my computer and not ever really doing anything with them beyond posting them on FB or adding them to my background or screensaver.
Last fall, MC suggested putting some up and switching them out every season or so. I loved the idea. I got some frames, printed out my favorites from an outing we’d had a few weeks before and got them hung up. I haven’t gotten enough new ones taken to switch every season, but I’ve changed them out a couple of times now.
The whole idea made me realize that I wanted my walls full of pictures (sort of ticks me off that I hadn’t already been doing that), so I started collecting frames and all I needed to do was figure out which pictures I wanted. I knew I had a handful that I absolutely wanted printed out, but I wasn’t entirely sure which were digital and which I only had small 3 x 5 prints from when I was still using my 35mm.
Today, all excited and ready to get this project done, I dug into it and pretty much hit a massive brick wall in the process. To find anything, I had to go through everything. Pictures of ALL the kids. OC. MC. BG. Individually and together. As well as pictures of all of my family members. It was stunningly hard to do and I found excuses to step away several times in the process.
One of the hits was seeing pictures of family get togethers and dealing with all the emotions those images evoked. I had no idea it was going to cut so deeply to see what is no longer a part of my life, even if that is by choice. It made me realize that I’m still hanging on to a lot of anger and hurt and that I most likely will for a very long time. The pretty big lack of photos with MC and BG with anyone other than each other or Hubby, at least on my side of the family, was obvious and telling.
The other hit came when I ran across several photos of all 3 kids together or the kids with Hubby and I. One in particular kind of encapsulated the issues with OC. It was probably taken a good 8 years ago, long before we had any idea of what was to come. BG was in the middle, MC on the left and OC on the right. BG has her arm up over MC’s shoulder, even though she is too short to really reach and a gigantic grin on her face. MC is much the same, except his arm goes behind BG and across to OC with his hand on OC’s shoulder. Again, with the gigantic grin, full of teeth and happiness. BG and MC are squished tightly together with BG’s cheek squashed in MCs chest. OC? He has his arms crossed in front of him with an annoyed, forced little fake grin and as much space between him and BG as MC’s arm will allow.
My heart hurt looking at that because it says it all. Even then, he really didn’t want anything to do with his brother and sister or anyone else in the family for that matter. That wasn’t the only one I found that was like that, but that one is the one that struck me so hard. There were a few from first days of school or other times where MC was either looking at his brother or trying to put his arm on his shoulder. In every single one, MC looks stupidly happy and you can see how much he looks up to his older brother. OC, in all of them, looks annoyed and bothered.
Looking at them now, you would think it was obvious what we were in for and the attitude that was to come. In some ways, I think we saw it, the whole never wanting to share the attention or the spotlight thing. Again, the pictures tell the story as OC is goofy and grinning and hamming it up in the pics where it is just him. But, there is so much that we never saw, even when it was right in front of us. We believed at the time it was typical sibling stuff, thinking the younger brother and sister are annoying.
It feels like I should have seen it and understood and then known what to do, but that is the awfulness that is hindsight. Everything looks obvious once you are past and can look back at it when you are no longer standing in the middle of it all. It is hard not to beat yourself up over it, even if you know that there wasn’t a single thing you could have done differently.