I decided to get back to scrapbooking since it's something I enjoy but the family will also benefit from. Eileen, a Creative Memories consultant runs a scrapbook studio in her home and every Tuesday she holds coffee crops from 9-2. I finally made it to one this Tuesday. It was great to be there. It gives me hope that someday I will have albums again. Before going digital in 2004 I had every single photo in an album. Since that day I have ONE incomplete album. Sometimes we watch slideshows on our big screen TV so our pictures aren't completely unseen, but there are literally thousands and thousands of pictures that even I have never even looked at once. The reality is that I'm taking far more pictures than I can keep up with.
As Eileen says the journey of 1,000,000 photos starts with a single album. So I decided that I would create an A-Z album. When Ainsley was a baby a friend had shown me her family alphabet album that she'd made. I thought it was fabulous but honestly I was a little annoyed at her suggestion that I might do the same since at that time I was struggling just to make it through the days. Since then 5 years have passed so maybe now I could finally do something neat like this for my kids. How hard could it be? There are only 26 letters in the alphabet. Right? Besides, I can justify the time spent since Ainsley is still learning the letters of the alphabet and it would be a fun teaching tool too. A perfect starting place, I thought.
Later in the week Evie and I picked the most adorable digital artwork. I planned my subject for each letter. Together Evie and I designed a couple sample layouts. But to really get started I need PICTURES. And that's when it all grinds to a halt. I started viewing my photos (thankfully starting with years that are all fully edited). With roughly 10,000-15,000 photos per YEAR finding 26-75 photos is like looking for the proverbial needles in a haystack.
There are SO many photos. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that I took them. It gives me the chance to look back and see that even during stressful days and ordinary days there was magic. Even if I couldn't see it or feel it at the time. My kids were and are BEAUTIFUL! So many memories I'd forgotten. To look back and see their little faces breaks my heart. They've grown up so fast! Life is busy for everyone. Balance is a challenge for everyone. But when you throw in a highly demanding job, a fixer-upper house, and a medically fragile special needs child....well then it's impossible. Really. There is no "balance". It's more like extreme juggling.
The truth is that although I did the best I could under the circumstances, I really wanted to be a better mom. My pictures reveal that. But they also reveal that I did okay sometimes, maybe even more than sometimes. And it validates my perspective of just how difficult it really has been. They say that parenting is the hardest job there is. Since there are so many ways to screw up I wonder if ANY parent EVER feels like they've done it well.
I also found this photo of a forgotten everyday moment. I love that my kids made me a crown and that I'm balancing it on my head while suctioning. In reality I was probably a little irritated and overwhelmed. This is one of thousands of photos I probably don't need. But I'm so glad to have it. It shows how perfectly imperfect our life is and will always remind me that I did the best I could.