when i was 18, my dad gave me a really incredible gift. shortly after i was born, he decided to document my life by writing down memories, collecting significant photos and mementos, and keeping them all in a journal. growing up, i was unaware of this project and when i graduated from high school he gifted me five journals, each one full of memories from my childhood.
that evening I stayed awake all night, reading through the journals, feeling all the feels. i couldn’t believe that i had a chronicle of the first 18 years of my life. each page contained important moments, some i had forgotten and others i did not remember at all. they were all written down for me, to read over and over again. i had a window into my story, told from my dad’s voice.
while reading through the journals for the first time, i remember feeling especially nostalgic and excited when i came across a photo. the photographs were glimpses into who i was and snapshots of my family’s story. some of them were posed, but most were real life moments. pictures that documented what we were about, how we lived our life, and what was important to us. our family traditions, our everyday routines. dance parties with lionel richie on the record player, father-daughter bike rides, backyard badminton matches, sneaking out of bed late at night to swing and watch the stars with my dad, building legos and playing board games, slow-eating ice cream contests. i longed to have more of those. i wanted more photos that helped tell my family’s story.
i deeply believe that photographs can be just as powerful as words when telling a story. when i look through the photos in my journals, i feel strongly connected to my childhood. each photo contains so many details of my life: our modest but sweet home, the brown 70’s furniture and carpet, the wooden swingset in the backyard, the playhouse we built as a family, and all of my favorite toys (and even the way i would organize and line them up). i feel incredibly fortunate to have these memories documented for me.