Today I received my technology rescue, the one I have been praying for. The laptop my dad and his wife bought me arrived from the Free State, lovingly packaged by my mom. Along came a book too: Paulo Coelho’s The Zahir. Yay, but for once, the book will have to wait.
I switched on the laptop eager to get started, but that is where the waterworks started. Instead of a desktop image, there was a message from my mom:
“My dear Nanuschka, may this laptop be the start of great things for you. May you one day win the Nobel prize for all the injustices you try and find. May every word you type be to God’s glory and may He bless you in every moment. I am so proud of you!”
What I discovered on the laptop changed my view of photos forever. I have never been a huge fan of photos. I would much rather be behind the shutter capturing the moment than being in the moment. My mom has always been the one to insist on photos. Every event, every occasion had a reason for a photo to be taken. Her requests for photos at these times are always met by complaints, sighs and long faces. It will never happen again. I will be smiling and jumping the queue to get their first.
The photos on there are an heirloom of memories; a treasure chest of family history. I found photos of my brother, sister and myself; photos of my parents dating back to their wedding day in 1972. To the wedding day photo’s Luke commented: Gosh, those guys really got stuck in the 70’s! There are precious, precious photos of Luke – his entire life captured on film. I found photos of my grandparents, my childhood home, my first Christmas tree(!), Saartjie (the cleaner employed by my gran for as long as I can remember). There were even photos of celebrities, gala events and sports teams – all captured by my mom. Old black and white prints of wedding days before color film and antique photos of my grandfather’s first car and first motorbike. It was the first time I had been able to show Luke a picture of my grandfather – it would appear he looks like a German general of the Second World War.
Through these photos I remembered my Oupa getting ready for Sunday church, fights with my brother and moments of hysterical laughter with my sister. I remembered long late night talks with my mom and the smell of dad when he holds me to his chest.
Photos and stories are our links to the past. Treasure them. Without them we have nothing to stir up old memories. Through these photos I could share stories with Jacques and Luke tonight; stories that made me laugh and stories that made me cry.
Thank you to my dad and Theresia for making this day possible.
Thank you to my mom for always being the memory keeper of our family. I now understand!