I have been working on preserving my family photos for years. My main effort lately has been to scan all the slides and old photos my mom has into a file and then make copies on discs for my siblings. I don't like the nightmare where Mom's house burns to the ground while she is visiting one of us and the only photo of us in front of our house in Boston with me gripping our cat in my fat toddler hands is gone forever.
So far, I have over 5000 images in the file, plenty more to go.
I made prints of some of the scanned slides and gave them to siblings and kids for Christmas. Most images have never been seen, so everyone was surprised.
It has been an interesting experience for me to relive the last 5 decades through these images. Some of my favorite are of me as a toddler being held by my dad while we are playing on the beach in Massachusetts. In one photo he is holding my hand to keep me from running out into the waves, both of us are laughing.
Then I think of the photos taken about 9 years ago, after his brain cancer was discovered, and the surgery, and the efforts to rebuild the connections to his arms and legs, but before the end. I was holding his hand while he concentrated on moving his legs for each step. Most images show both of us with determined looks on our faces, but in one we are both laughing. Then more images as he tried to continue his work, and we were there helping him. Then no more laughing images during the time when the cancer was everywhere, and we just wanted to be with him.
The photos remind me that my dad took care of me long before I took care of him.
Eventually, we all take care of each other.