27 December 2002
"You know how they say men always marry their mothers?" Tom said to me a few
weeks ago. Then he grinned and gestured toward Laurel, to whom he was just a few weeks
away from proposing.
Like this was news to me?
We first met Laurel maybe ?four years ago when we went to Santa Barbara for one of
Tom's infamous birthday barbecues. It took me about 20 minutes to figure out that she was
me, at her age. I'm not sure if it was the taking of photos or the talk of scrapbooks or
the cake she decorated for him that year. Those were the big clues. But the more I talked
to her, the more it felt like I was talking to myself.
I have always taken it as a compliment the fact that Tom is so smitten by someone who
reminds me so much of myself!
My big worry was that somehow the relationship wouldn't last, but when he called after
returning from Hawaii and announced that he'd proposed to her over there and now that
we've seen "the ring" and begun plans for "the wedding" (October 25),
I am beginning to breathe a little easier. Like Marta, Ned's wife, this one's a keeper.
But it's going to be great fun having "me" in the family. She just got a
digital camera and the two of us positioned ourselves at one end of the living room during
gift opening last night and kept shooting away, the end result being that we have a lot of
great pictures from Christmas night.
I drew her name in the family gift exchange and I bought her two computer
programs--Photo Impact 8, which will help her manipulate all those photos, and a
scrapbooking program so she can do her scrapbooking by computer instead of on book pages.
"I'll never leave the computer," she said, as she was looking through the
information on the boxes after opening them.
But I really knew that Tom was marrying "me" this afternoon when she hauled
out all of the photo albums from throughout Tom's life and had me scan all the ones of him
that she liked. She's going to take all of those photos and have a videotape made of her
life before him and his life before her so they can play it at the wedding.
If videotape had been around when I got married, I probably would have tried to do the
A few days ago I wrote about the mixed feelings I get whenever I go through the old
scrapbooks and photo albums, looking for photos for this journal. All the happy times
tinged with the realization that all too soon our lives would be forever changed and our
numbers reduced by two.
But today was an example of the joy that all those old photos can bring. I just loved
watching Tom and Jeri going through the books, coming upon photos of special events, or
even of silly things, like the stuffed animal Vanilla in his clown costume for halloween
(Jeri was impressed that I even remembered Vanilla's name). Each event brought memories
and laughter, and triggered more memories, family stories, etc. Laurel was eating them all
up, as she soaked up All Things Tom.
That's why I took all those photos and made all those albums--to watch the kids
reminisce as they go through them now and maybe, eventually, I'll be able to embarrass the
kids by showing off the sillier pictures to their own children. And isn't that what every
parent lives for?