I think therefore I am? – Chinese New Year Family Photos

Photo by Сергей Wi on Unsplash

Chinese New Year is a time for family to gather. People make their way home from all over the world for a chance to catch up with each other. It’s a time for the annual family photo, making the most of the opportunity when everyone is there together. A rare occasion these days to have the children and the grandchildren altogether in one place at one time.

Looking back the old photos tell a story of a family’s life together. Over the years the pictures change. The parents get older. The children grow up and become parents themselves. The next generation is welcomed. The family dog looks less and less alert. The first grandchild is joined by another. A few photos later and there are more babies. The family dog disappears from the photos. The children look more tired and world-weary. The grandchildren look taller in each new photo.

The photos of the past three years looked different as many families could not gather for their annual reunion. Replaced by screenshots of virtual gatherings. Better than not seeing each other at all, but not quite the same due to lag and other factors. Not being able to taste Grandmas’s signature dish, her stir-fried rice vermicelli. Not being able to eat New Year Cakes together. No red packets could exchange hands.

As time goes by the photos will change even more. The grandparents start to look elderly. The parents start to have grey hair. The young ones may not be able to make it back due to university or work commitments. The eldest grandson proudly presents his grandparents with the first red packet he earned himself in his first year of working. Pure pride beams in the smile of his grandmother as she receives the auspicious gift.

People start to disappear from the photos as health issues start to wreak their havoc. One of the grandparent’s faces looks different after the stroke. The following year there is a gap in the space where one of the parents always stood. Two of the grandchildren will have to finish growing up without one of their parents.

The family tradition will persist. The gathering, the family meal, followed by the family photo. The life changes will continue to occur and will be writ on the faces of those photographed. The ups and downs of the year. The challenges encountered, the successes and failures. What we have gained and what we have lost all feature in these family photos.

1,2,3 everyone say, “Cheese.”

Guest Post – Naomi’s Notes – Time

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

He was 84. He had been sick for a long time with his liver and recently had his gallbladder removed.  He was tired and grumpy as he struggled to make sense of the illness.   He was tired of taking medicine and being unwell. It was a far cry from the strong funny man that used to make his family laugh.

As a father when he made up his mind to do something he would always follow through.  Like the time he decided to take a night class in pruning fruit trees.   He would come home from class and prune all the fruit trees which were quite substantial.  The trees all had a slight lean to them and his family was not convinced he passed that class but the trees bore great fruit.  

He decided he wanted to become a welder so he enrolled in a night class and completed the course.  His family thought it was an extension of his pruning class because he did some welding maintenance around the fruit trees.  When he wasn’t watching, his children used his welding hat to play Darth Vader in Star Wars but he used to laugh when he thought they couldn’t see him. 

It was early morning when the phone rang and she knew immediately something was wrong.

Continue reading