Yesterday afternoon I looked at my Instagram account and realized I had nearly 3,000 photos posted. What? Too many photos. I went back to the beginning and started deleting. When I first loaded the Instagram App and began using it, I had no idea what I was doing. There were multiple pictures of the same thing (mostly from walks we took, and pics of the pets) using different filters and borders. I have always loved Instagram for the filters and generally posted the pictures elsewhere, on Facebook, on my old blog, on this blog, etc… As I scrolled through hundreds of photos (I joined Instagram in 2012), the images became less generic, and more personal.
There were pictures of trips we took, special events, our 25th wedding anniversary, my niece’s birthday party, the beginning of my never-ending selfie stage, hundreds of photos of the animals, the kids, travel, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hawaii, Paris, Hawaii again, Paris again, flowers, and of course every single stage of the building of our dream beach house.
Along with all those photos were memories. Memories of dropping The Peacemaker at college in Maine… and then taking a drive to a lake in Bridgton and just sitting there staring out at the tranquil waters with the melancholy that came with the realization that we were now, truly, empty nesters. We would be going home alone, to a quiet, childless house. Our years of watching our boys take their first steps, hit their first baseballs, go to their first dances, graduate from high school, were over. That part of our life was complete.
There were pictures of the bushels of golden plums we picked one summer weekend and then jars and jars of the finished spiced plum jam I was so proud of. There were pictures of my 50th birthday trip to France, our rented flat in the Marais, the flowers I handpicked at the local fleuriste, gathered up, and displayed on our pretty french dining table for the duration of our stay. So many photos, so many memories.
I took all those photos because I wanted to remember something. I wanted to remember those great times, and happy places and the smiling faces of my favorite people. After dday I made my Instagram private. After finding out the other woman had obsessively accessed all my social media, I didn’t want her seeing any part of my life anymore. Eventually I got over it. I don’t want to be the kind of person who runs and hides under a rock. I love to follow and share and I think for the most part, social media is fun. I made my Instagram profile public again.
As I looked through all the photos yesterday, other memories flooded my conscious. That time we dropped our son at college, and held hands by the lake in Maine… yeah, that was the time Blue Eyes arrived home alone and brought the other woman to our house. That gorgeous golden plum jam, well, while I was sweating over a hot stove preserving jar after jar for my family to enjoy, Blue Eyes was off with the other woman, a quickie at her house. And that photo of Blue Eyes and his sister in Paso Robles, all smiles and happiness, was taken only minutes after Blue Eyes was texting with the other woman and claiming it was business.
The difference between my prior shopping trips to Pain-ville, however, is that this time, there wasn’t a sick pit in my stomach. There were no tears, no aching heart, no nothing. Just the acknowledgement that those things did happen, but those places I experienced were not changed. They were glorious. That day in Versailles with our little family, magical. The gorgeousness of the hydrangeas in my front garden, not changed, still gorgeous. That fucking spiced plum jam, still delicious. My children, my pets, my husband, still the center of my life. A good life. A great life.