The Perspective Provided By School Pictures

It’s always weird to go back and look at old pictures and try to reconcile how you remember feeling at the time the picture was taken with what the actual image says to you now.  I see my high school graduation photos and remember thinking how old and grown-up I felt, like I was ready to start life as an adult, when it is very clear from looking at the pictures now that I was a tiny baby who did not know anything at all.  And this dichotomy only gets worse when the pictures are of your children.

When Ruby started kindergarten, I compared her first day of school picture with her first day of pre-school picture, taken just one year earlier, and it made my brain explode.  I remember very clearly how grown-up she looked with her back-pack on, stepping into pre-school for the first time, and yet comparing the two photos it was quite clear that she was a cute little baby girl in that older picture, whereas now she was way more grown up than I wanted her to be.  Practically adult-like!

Yesterday I got yet another such opportunity for reflection.  School pictures came back.  So now I can put her kindergarten school picture side by side with her pre-school school picture and once again melt my brain.  I can recall quite vividly my feelings on her picture from last year.  I felt that I had never seen her looking so grown up.  She could have been in middle school for all I could tell from that photo.  She had her new haircut, and her new outfit, and was sitting and smiling so beautifully that I felt almost melancholy about how mature she was getting.

But now we have the new pictures, and I am freaking out again.  I mean, the pictures are great, that is not the issue, but she practically looks like a college student!  She has grown her bangs out, her face is a little more defined, and once more I feel that she has never looked more mature and grown up.  And of course this is true.  She has never looked more mature and grown up, because she has never been more mature and grown up.  This is her now, the oldest she has ever been, and I suppose I must temper my reaction with the knowledge that, come next year, I will look back on this current picture and declare I can’t believe that she looked so young.

But today, for now, all I can see in that picture is a beautiful young girl that used to be my beautiful little baby.  Is kindergarten to young to have all of these thoughts and feelings?  I feel like it probably is, but since I have them every year, and every milestone, I guess I will just have to accept that I am a little too sentimental, and that things are not going to ever go backwards.  She will grow up, and I will be there to enjoy it, and when she really is an adult and doing her own things, well, I will still have the pictures.

Posted in Parenting, Photo, Ruby, School.

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