Sometimes after a big event, I take a while to put it into focus.
It’s like the old days before digital cameras. Back then, if you wanted to see the photos you shot on vacation, you had to take the film someplace to get it developed and go back later to pick up the prints. Then you had to sort them fast before anybody saw them, so you could trash the ones that made you look bad.
Sometimes I didn’t trash mine. I just hid them in drawers. Years later, when I cleaned out the drawers and found those old snapshots that I once thought were so awful, I was amazed to see that I looked pretty good. “Bad” is a relative term.
For days, I’ve been trying to “develop” all the images in my head from our recent vacation. We packed a lot into one week.
My husband’s favorite (and only) niece was getting married in California, on the Monterey Peninsula, a place we called home for many years until a job change took us to Las Vegas.
Two of my children teach on the Peninsula and my husband’s boys live a couple of hours north. So we decided to make it a week to remember. We rented a house near the beach and invited our kids and grandkids to join us. It’s probably best they didn’t all show up at once.
In the eight years we’ve been married, our blended family has grown to include my three, his two, along with their others, and, in the last three years, four grandchildren. I know. Rabbits and humans. It happens.
My grandparents had 12 children. I’m not sure they knew all their names. One-on-one time was probably limited.
I love one-on-one time. Unless it’s with a dishwasher. But I love “everybody” time, too — being in the thick of a big, messy, noisy bunch of people who, for me, absolutely hang the moon.
I wish you could’ve seen us.
Finally, this morning, after days of letting the memories sift and settle and rise like cream to the top of my brain, I tried to list the moments I remember best.
It’s a long list. Here are a few, in no special order, starting, of course, with the little people:
Randy rating a burger that his Papa Mark grilled as “the best I ever had in my whole life!”
Charlotte in a “Ladybug Girl” costume looking for ladybugs.
Henry blowing out the two candles on his birthday cake.
Baby Wiley staring amazed at his brother and cousins, as if to say, “What have I gotten into?”
I remember the sound of our children’s laughter; seeing what great parents they are; thinking how wise and well-mannered they’ve become, especially for people who not so long ago liked to stick peas up their noses.
I remember walking along the beach; old friends dropping by; my husband playing music with his buddies; and sitting alone on the deck with buzzards circling my head, wondering if I should maybe go put on some makeup.
Then there was the wedding.
I recall the groom, at a beach party the night before the big day, seeking me out to say hello.
I remember the bride, as lovely as mortally possible, walking down the aisle with both her dad and her stepdad.
I recall seeing the joy in her mother’s eyes, and realizing that I knew just how she felt.
I remember bearing witness to that age-old miracle, watching two join hands to become one.
Later, at the reception, I recall laughing and dancing and talking with others who felt as blessed as I did to celebrate this fine, sacred thing we call love.
Finally, I remember what I forgot to tell the newlyweds:
The real joy of a wedding is that it’s only a beginning, a foretaste of things to come.
Life is lived and remembered in moments that mirror love, in sickness and in health, in good times or bad, come what may.
Treasure those moments. Hide them in your soul. Someday — who knows? You might take them out and be amazed at just how good you looked.
Sharon Randall can be contacted at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or at www.sharonrandall.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.