My dad emigrated alone to the United States when I was a 4 week old baby in the 80s. He knew he would have to work really hard for the next few years, and the only communication he would have with the love of his life, his wife, and his children would be letters. The first five years of my life my brother and I grew up without a dad. My mom did a hell of a job raising me and my brother by herself. I often take care of the girls on my own and I struggle so much to stay positive and resilient and strong for them and for my family but I can't imagine having to do this for five years alone. I use to have this homemade video that my sister or my aunt recorded of my mom sending a message from us (my mom, me and my brother) to my dad in Florida. The last time I saw it was maybe when a teen on my parents old TV in our old house. I haven't seen it in all these years. I asked about it recently, because I was curious to see what I was like when I was 4 years old. I wanted to see if I acted anything like my older daughter, what I looked like 'in motion' what my facial expressions were like, how my voice sounded, but the tape is missing and theres a chance it got thrown out between moves from one home to another over the last decade. And now I'll never know, my curiosity about all these questions will never get sated, I'll never have a video to show my kids of me when I was their age. This is a moment when technology and cloud drives to back up the important moments you don't want to ever lose of your family is such a necessity.
I wish I could see what my everyday life was when I was a child. With all its ups and downs.
Whether I have my young kids now, or young adults in the future, I want to remember how they make me feel in this moment. Sometimes my oldest, Kate who is 4, she just says the silliest things that you just can't help but laugh. And when she becomes a mom one day, I want her to remember the now. I want her to see happy moments that we have together right now, when life is still a little simple and things are not yet too far complicated.
One day, when I am in my 80s and I am looking at pictures from my life, what moments and giggles do I want to remember? I want to remember the real stuff. I want to remember breakfast, with my husband cooking bacon and eggs while I try my best to entertain the kids while drinking a strong coffee. I want to remember doing laundry while my kids make a mess all over the rest of our home. I want to remember bath time and all the water that always gets all over the floor and the tea parties Kate has with bath water. I want to remember how easily the baby gets worked up when Kate gives her way too many hugs and kisses... and the snuggles we have on the couch over pizza, the kids tantrums over clothes not fitting right and meals. I want to remember the meals that we always work so hard to put together that my kids won't ever eat. That's what I want to remember, because the real moments are what make my life worth it to me.
Life is just going by too fast. I have missed so many moments because I was worrying about responsibilities, that suddenly, the little baby I just met is now a child with her own opinions and character.
I have evolved as I have become a mom to two children and in charge of many new and challenging responsibilities. And the time I have with my little children has become ever so precious and fleeting.
It has become utterly important for me to remember moments and feelings and who we really are as a family right now.
I hope you'll join me on this journey into family documentation.
The family pictured below was not directed or posed in anyway. This is the raw and real Ripley Family