A look back through some favourite and often embarrassing photos of yours truly. I've always felt so connected to photos. Pouring over the details, the backgrounds, the clothes and trying to piece it all together. You can look at the same photo over and over and years later see it in a new light, with a better appreciation of the context or maybe with more questions.
My favourites have always been and will always be the imperfect ones that make you want to know more about the story behind it and the ones that take you back to a feeling.
So here goes, mullets and all. The photos are up until I was about 9 or so. It feels like so much happens in this short span of time of childhood. I often feel like a whole lifetime was lived with so many memories crammed into that pocket of time. How we grew up, the good and the bad, shapes us to the core.
My parents met at Rideau high school. I include this photo mostly because I love whoever made the decision to include the biology dummy on the left. I'm also amazed at how much my youngest daughter looks like her grandmother here. I'm the youngest of 3, the baby of the family. Here I am, born 3 months early weighing 3 lbs 5oz. The priest gave me last rights the day after I was born because they weren't sure I'd survive. Maybe 3 should be my lucky number. I still like to be early for most things. Safe and happy in my sister's arms. My bro cradling his bag of cheezies. I'm thinking it was likely a bribe to get us all to sit together. By the time I reached my first birthday, I more than caught up and was happy and healthy. I smiled a lot. But not always. Not a fan of hats apparently. Turtleneck and shorts. I'm guessing I chose the outfit. This photo (and several others) make me wish that my mom was more visible. I wish I could see her face here and not just mine. That's Le Phare Elementary in the back - the first of 4 elementary schools I would attend. I was always the new girl. That turtleneck again. My mom keeping a watchful eye in the background. This must have been a special dress that someone gave us because I have about 6 photos with it from this same day. Given that my dad was using film, that's a lot of photos. I still love yellow. The irises in the background were from our backyard garden. Still one of my favourite flowers. I think this was our last year in Ottawa before we moved to Edmonton. I still have one of those yellow glasses. 90 percent of photos of me up until this age feature this bowl haircut that my sister and I both sported. My mom wasn't great at doing hair/we hated our hair being brushed and this was the easiest solution for all concerned. It must be genetic because my girls hate hair brushing too. A favourite photo of my mom and I. I'm pretty sure my dad was yelling "hey Mel" to get me to look over. I like the pensive look on my mom's face. Probably part relaxed and enjoying the day, part counting how many hours until bedtime. The photo was taken at my Aunt and Uncle's house. They had an inground pool and it felt like we were there are all the time. I remember my mom going down the slide and using her hand to pinch her nose to prevent water from shooting up. I used to laugh so hard at that. How's that for a family photo? What's happening here? When we lived in Edmonton there was a fair called Klondike days and we went all out, dressing up cowboy style. My sister was clearly too cool to dress up. Super flattering photo that only a sibling could take. I fell asleep on the drive from Edmonton to Vancouver. We camped in the Rockies as we made our way to Expo 86. My sister had a friend join us and so there were 4 of us sharing 3 seatbelts in the backseat of Betsy, the 1974 beige Ford Fairmont that was part of our family until the early 1990s.
I mentioned earlier that I had short bowl cut for most of my childhood. Well, I eventually grew out the back as any 80s child would and sported a full on mullet to be like my sister. Here it is in all its glory.....
On our camping trip to Vancouver my mom remembered she saw a photo contest - submit a photo to enter. She staged this shot and had us pretend to drink Pepsi with my fave Pepsi shirt. Only when we got back home did she realize it was a Coke contest. We lived in Quebec City for 3 years. That's my fleece jacket my mom is holding - forever holding all our stuff, thanks mom. All 5 of us had the same fleece jacket only in different colours. "Ready, like totally" read my favourite t-shirt. My style sense, unsurpassed in the heart of Old Quebec. I loved that outfit so much. Me in my favourite one piece snowsuit and mushroom cut, Betsy the Ford Fairmont and creepy stranger dude immortalized in our family photo. Our parents took us ice fishing in a little hut in Quebec. We caught fish and felt so bad for them that we tried to keep them in the aquarium we had at home. They did not survive. This is the car of our childhood. It was big, old, rusted out and a weird butterscotch beige colour. No air conditioning and the seats would get abnormally hot that you'd have to peel your skin off of them on summer days. We would ask our parents to drop us off around the block to avoid being connected with it. I think this is the moving car I "accidentally" rolled out of as a toddler. Pretty sure my sister and brother pushed me out of a moving car. They deny it. There aren't a lot of photos of my mom but I made up for it by making her the subject of many of the ones I took. This gem was taken with my very first camera. My passion for candid obvious even then :) I never understood why she would need to go outside and take a break. Now I get it more than ever. I wish I had let her enjoy her alone time when she needed it most. She had it so much harder than I do now. Our family trip to Gaspé. I didn't get the "Roots" memo.
I remember these moments because we have the photos. Without them, these details would be lost for the most part. And so in the moment you might not feel like being in them - you do the eye roll, the sigh, the 'let's take one later' when you feel more put together - but know that one day they will be the starting point of the stories you tell your kids, your family, your friends about who you were, where you went and how far you've come.