We celebrated my dad's birthday over the weekend. My brother and sister flew in to surprise him and his brother and sister flew in to surprise him and my cousins and we all just sat together and went swimming and drank wine with wet hair and then everyone flew away two days later whirwind weekend whoooosh. 

My aunt brought a DVD of old home videos of my dad and his siblings as babies. My grandparents dancing and kissing in wood-panneled rooms, my dad and his brother pushing their baby sister in her pram down the suburban sidewalks of Park Forrest, Illinois where my dad spent his formative years. (I kept thinking of The Wonder Years and Joe Cocker because that is what old home movies make me think about. Fred Savage and his fictional family.) And then, by 1960something the videos ended and old OLD videos of my Grandma and her siblings popped on the screen and we all gasped as we watched with our heads against each other's shoulders, empty glasses between our knees, collective awe.
Surprisingly (to me, anyway) in 1928 babies acted like babies. Children acted like children. Teenagers made teenager faces. I expected to see these refined children all in a line in their pressed linen dresses which is what I think of when I think of "the good old days." I think of Madeline with all of the children in neat little lines, perfectly coiffed. And yet. It was just as chaotic then. In the most wonderful way it was exactly the same as it is now. More photogenic, perhaps, but the same crazy/wonderful.


The other day we were all watching Pee-wee's Big Adventure and everyone was laughing at all of the same places and Archer said, "we all speak different languages but we all laugh the same."

He was referring to his sisters who speak their own little language but find the same things hilarious but the truth in his statement resurfaced as we watched those home videos together. For some reason knowing that everyone laughs is kind of reason enough to live. I mean, on the worst days ever, PEOPLE LAUGH. THAT IS A THING THAT HUMANS DO! THAT IS THE BEST NEWS.
photo-2 my grandparents and cousin, Emily
photo-23 ... and cousin, Sam

Generations have come and gone and we've all been relatively the same in the parenting department. We love our children the same as we did then. We take them on vacations when we can afford to. We try to make them laugh and we feed them with spoons and play with them in water when it's hot and bundle them up when it's cold and sometimes everyone gets along and sometimes nobody does and that is the way it's always been forever. Or at least since 1928.

Anyway. Sing it, Joe. 

178. With a Little Help From my Friends, Joe Cocker Version


photo-19 photo-2 photo-4 photo-10 photo-1 ***
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