Turns out I can't.
I did manage to get the albums in a somewhat obvious chronological order (hey I do have them in albums) but unfortunately I put them in the albums about once every 2 years and I just grabbed the pile of photos and started stuffing so within the albums there is no real order. And remember how we used to get doubles of all our pictures? I am finding repeats of pictures in different albums.
Having decided to do a thematic approach to Jake's life rather than a chronological approach, today I started pulling pictures out of albums and looking for themes. You know, like birthday, holidays, covered in mud, naked...You know, themes.
As I was going through those pictures of my 1-5 year old son and his 24-29 year old parents I was struck by how happy and carefree everyone looked. Are we all really that good at faking it for the camera or was I really that much more relaxed in my 20's?
Of course I also have the perspective of hindsight. I know that young mom is going to be just fine. Her bills are going to get paid, she will eventually loose that weight she is gaining, drive a mini van just like her friends, take that trip to Africa she has been dreaming of, see her son become a wonderful young man and hold that long awaited baby in her arms. So I don't see the pain of the unknown but the joy of what is to come.
15 years from now when I look back at the pictures of myself today will I see a woman who is happy and carefree or a woman who is tired of carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders? Someone who can't see how it will all work out or someone who knows that just as He has in the past God will deliver her into the future blessing her with amazing gifts along the way?
Childhood is fun. Adulthood is fun. LIFE is fun. Looking at the pictures of Jake as a baby reminds me of what a joy my life has been and how richly I am blessed. I praise God for the opportunities I have had to learn and grow along the way, for never abandoning me and for the hope of the future as life keeps moving forward and I continue to enjoy every moment.