Since I became a grandmother recently I have been thinking a lot about why all members of the baby’s extended family have spent a lot of time gazing at old and new photos.
The new photos are of the baby and we all admire him and comment on how much he has grown and changed already. We also search for physical similarities, such as “does he have his mother’s eyes?”, “does he have my nose?”, “will he be tall like his maternal grandfather?”
The old photos are of adults in his life. His father, aunty and uncle, his grandparents and great grandparents. We seem to need to connect with all of these people when they were babies or young children but for reasons not readily explained.
To be healthy human beings we need someone to hold our story for us as we grow up. It is essential to us developing a sense of belonging. At first it is to the immediate family, to the history of the family and over time to the cultural group and the community. All this helps to provide us with a sense of security and an increased ability to face the world and its challenges.
And there has been plenty of story telling as well as photo gazing.
So maybe we have all been adjusting to a shift in the history of our extended family with the arrival of this wee chap and to our new roles in the family. Maybe we have been stopped by his arrival and need to contemplate our time as babies that we can only grasp from photos. I don’t know.
I also wonder how it would be if we had no photos to refer to.
I’d be interested in your thoughts on it all.