Michelle Martin


October 11, 2018

I cleaned off — and cleaned out — my desk the other week.

It was time, or past time. We moved into our current office nearly five years ago, and the accumulated papers, obsolete equipment, books and magazines were enough to more than fill my wastebasket.

I even shifted my keyboard to a more ergonomically friendly drawer under the surface of the desk and moved the monthly production calendar and deadline list to the other side of my cubicle in an effort to gain a fresh perspective.

That meant moving some of my favorite photographs as well. Many of them have traveled with me through two or even three office moves.

There are the pictures of Caroline and Frank — maybe 8 and 6? — having a snowball fight the day we went to the cut-your-own-Christmas-tree farm. We only did that once, maybe because shortly after that photo was taken, Frank got hit with a chunk of ice that gave him a bloody nose, and it was snowing so hard that the whole inside of the van was soaked by the time we got the tree tied on the roof.

There’s the black-and-white portrait our award-winning photo editor Karen Callaway took of the two of them, Frank kissing the side of his sister’s head while she tries not to laugh. I’m still not sure how she got them to do that.

There’s the picture of a 2-year-old Teresa sitting at the dining room table with a plastic box of crayons and messy hair, leveling a stare that clearly communicates her skepticism. “Do you really expect me to use hand-me-down crayons?” she seems to be saying.

The picture of me with all three kids on the porch is from about the same time, taken after we spent a couple of hours trimming the front bushes and cleaning up the mess. We’re a motley crew at best: a combination of jeans and T-shirts and athletic pants, topped off by toddler Teresa in a sundress over an undershirt and Disney princess slippers.

Underneath are a couple of school pictures of Caroline and Frank, pictures that are at least five years old now. This year, I could update them with both of their high school graduation photos. Even if I don’t, I think I need to add a school picture for Teresa.

To all the other parents out there who have been filling out school picture forms (and hockey picture forms, and swimming picture forms, and probably soccer and football and cheerleading and chess picture forms), remember that in five years you won’t care that your daughter’s smile looks forced, or your son’s hair didn’t stay down.

Fall is the season of remembrance, when we prepare for one year to end and a new one to begin. Take time this fall to remember those you love, and everything they’ve taught you. And don’t forget Picture Day.



  • family life