Just before Christmas, my sister and I divvied up family photographs from my mother's house and we gave them to the nieces and nephews. The more valuable pictures were put on a CD. They were the old ones, pictures of people gone on, pictures that could not be replaced. Each niece and each nephew received a box of family pictures and the CD.
One of my nephews said, "I was hoping that there would be pictures of me as a baby. I have no pictures of myself when I was a baby." His mother dealt with hard times, and there were a lot of moves, and chaos. I never really thought of it. I did not know. That sister was alienated from the family for many years.
He went on: "I've asked everybody. There are pictures of my sister, but no one has pictures of me."
"I have pictures of you. I know that I do." And I did. I remembered coming home on leave from Basic Training. I remembered going to visit them. I remembered the pictures.
I've been looking for those pictures. Unsuccessfully. Until today.
I found a picture of me holding a baby, and it was James. Sweet baby James. Excitedly, I ran through the pictures, pulling them out of the book. There are not a lot of them, but there they are. Pictures of a smiling baby, his grin as unmistakable then as it is today. I have 13 pictures that document his first year.
Slim pickings, but for a 30 year old man who has no pictures of himself as a baby, these will be precious. Treasures.
I clutched those pictures close with a prayer of thanksgiving.
I headed directly to the computer and I messaged him. "James! I found something for you today."