The Evolution of a Family

I love comparing past holiday photos, because they sum up each year’s changes in one package. Maybe it’s the looming 40th birthday and 20th high school reunion, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately of the changes (good and painful) over my past decade, including marriage, infertility, babies, home ownership, and careers started and ended. I hear others say that they don’t feel like grownups yet, and I feel that way sometimes too. But, then, what is a grownup, if not by age? Perhaps, adulthood means that when there are hard times, sadness, and loss, there are still jobs to go to, children to be cared for, and bills to be paid. Where childhood is about self-centeredness, adulthood is often about self-denial. But that’s the very thing that makes us mature and evolve. The process might be painful, but there is joy at the end. Which is why I love our holiday photos. The year’s losses are not captured, but the joy at the end, and the promise of a new year, are. Here’s a little trip down our memory lane.

This was us before marriage, dog, or kids. Look at those starry eyes, without much grownup responsibility.

This was our first Christmas with Ernie Dog, the first addition to our family. It was also my first experience with giving up some control. This dear dachshund is as stubborn as they come, and he made me cry during potty training. My wise husband said, “You know, your self esteem doesn’t depend on where the dog poops.” Something I’ve relearned many times while potty training three children.

This photo is a perfect picture of a joyful ending, after much pain. That could be said about both childbirth and infertility.

And, then, surprise! And more joy! And, occasionally, more pain. I say now that I used to cry because I didn’t have children, and now I sometimes cry because I do. But that’s just because we’re in the growing process, and if we do it right, there will be much, much joy at the end. (Another sign of being grownup is the ability to stand delayed gratification. In this case, at least 16 more years, or until I have grandchildren who act just the way my children do.)

For a long time, we had a Big Sister and two babies. This photo shows three children who can participate relatively equally, yet who show us every day that they are individuals.

This isn’t a holiday photo, but it’s a summation of a big change in our family. Ernie Dog had a back injury and became paralyzed, but he keeps up with the human kids in his wheels. We really have four children now.

And, finally, the evolution of a family. Yes, the past decade has been a good one, even though our starry eyes have been replaced by tired eyes. 🙂 If you’d like to, please post a comment about your favorite photos, which show your family’s evolution. Have a wonderful holiday season and new year with your family. Take lots of photos and make memories!

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. abbyplambeck
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 22:28:22

    To my dear readers: If you received a previous email about a new post and it was all jumbled, I apologize! The photos were a bear to format. Thank you for coming back and I hope you enjoy this one instead!


  2. Dee
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 06:31:50



  3. Lynda Olsen
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 07:30:30

    I had no problem with your posting, you are amazing to find the time to do this writing and posting of photos with all you deal with on a daily basis. Once again, your strength and simple devotion to your family are humbling.

    I love revisiting the growth of your family, especially at this special holiday time.



  4. Barbara Techel
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 08:09:43

    So beautiful, Abby! I especially like the photo of Ernie dog following behind your kids… oh, did that bring tears to my eyes.


  5. Sarah J McDowell
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 09:14:44

    What a wonderful restropective! I so enjoyed taking the walk down memory lane with you while I read & looked at the photos!


  6. Beth Louw
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 10:22:26

    I am so happy I have been able to see your family grow and evolve. Love you all.


  7. abbyplambeck
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 22:11:21

    Thank you, everyone, for reading and for your kind words! 🙂


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