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Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there. Tell us the story of that photo.

I’m sitting on the deck in our second house. We’d moved to a larger house when our second daughter was on the way, and it was a beautiful summer day. One of the first things my husband, the handyman, did after we moved in the house was to build the deck where I’m seated next to my daughter whose about 18 months old, I think. I was already pregnant with the next child, and first daughter Kate was sitting next to her standing sister, holding on to her favorite teddy, Sarah Beara.

It must have been late August because at the time my husband, with the “help” of the two girls, was pressing grapes gleaned in a Virginia vineyard where he had a friend who was the head winemaker.

Oddly enough one of the things I notice and remember when I look at this photo is my short hair. A number of months earlier, I’d decided that getting a perm would be a good idea. Well, it wasn’t. I’d asked for something gentle, but I have really thick hair and the perm took well, and I ended up with a head full of unruly curls. I hated it, and no matter what I tried, it always looked like a bush, some bushes slightly better than others. Finally, when it was long enough, I went in and had it cut short to get rid of the curly locks once and for all. Last and only perm for me.

I’m smiling in the photo. Was it because I was rid of my curls, or the fact that I had two darling little girls with me on a sunny day on the deck?