52 Ancestors – #2 – Favorite Photo

My first thought was, “This will be easy! There are so many pictures I can choose from.”
  • The 1930s picture depicting 4 generations of my father’s family.
  • The 1960s Christmas photograph of me and my sibs in which one sister is ironing and my brother is picking his nose.
  • The 1970s photo of me and my sibs in our kitchen – a rare shot of all 8 of us!
  • One of the last photographs of my mom – wearing a huge smile as she sits in the car after a visit to our favorite seafood restaurant.

I turned on my computer to get started on this post. And there it was. The picture I have used for my lock screen since 2012. My eldest daughter on her wedding day. You may think I love this picture because it captures a special day in our family. That is, of course, true. But it’s more than that. It’s probably the reason I have yet to swap out the lock screen photo for one more current.

In her open palm, my daughter Caitlin is holding a small silver box. It likely belonged my great-grandmother, Sophie Weiss Spiegel. I did some research on little silver boxes and found this may be a “vinaigrette”, possibly from the late 1800s. Vinaigrettes are small boxes used by women during the Victorian Era as a more practical method to carry perfume while traveling. A small sponge inside the box would be soaked in the scent. But that’s not why I love this photo.
I found two of these boxes in my mother’s effects after her passing. Sadly, Mom died just a few months before Caitlin’s wedding. On the day we choose her wedding dress, actually. I could think of no more fitting way to have my mother “attend” the wedding than to place a few of her ashes in the little silver box. Caitlin carried her grandmother with her the entire day. (Our youngest daughter did the same a few years later on her wedding day with the second box.) But that’s not why I love this photo.
Caitlin is my first-born child. She lives almost 2000 miles away. I miss spending time with her. When things are good, I wish I could be with her to celebrate. When things are tough, I worry. I’m her mom. How can I make things better when I’m so far away? Then I see this picture.
I look at the delicate flowers. The wedding ring symbolizing a new beginning. The silver box connecting one generation to those gone by. She is, and always will be, connected to me, to those who came before us and to those coming after. I look at Caitlin’s hand grasping her bridal bouquet. Her hand looks strong. And I realize – she is strong. I don’t need to worry about every little thing. Miles don’t erase our connection. She is always with me. That’s why I love this picture.

Photo credit: the fabulous Nathan W. Armes of Armes Photography

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