Sep 27, 2013

Pictures and the Passing of Time

Tomorrow it will have been 4 months since Steve started his new job. After years and years of him working extreme hours to meet deadlines it has been great to have him home in the evenings and weekends. His switching industries was the best thing we could ever do for our family and marriage.  Now that he's here and we are still so busy I wonder how I held it together for so long. There have been a few business trips but I have managed and it's far better than having him gone most of the time. We are catching up.  Life is getting better and now it is time for me to take some time for myself.

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.
And I see that on my tired face (in the few pictures that I'm in because usually I'm the photographer).  I see it on my kids faces as I recall how difficult those times were.  It's especially difficult to see the pictures of Ainsley and all that she's been through. There will be ordinary pictures and then all of a sudden pictures that no parent should have in their collection, like the heartbreaking one below that I found today. Sadly this is just one of hundreds of such photos. Having to comb through our photos is cathartic. And probably good for me even though it is a painful process.

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. 


  1. your an amazing person!!! I feel like I do it wrong all the time! I think all moms think they can do better and strive to do so!! hugs! wyndi

  2. You ARE an awesome Mom. And, one of the reasons I have always loved your blog is because of all the pictures. Remember, that this blog is a scrapbook of sorts, too. You have been great at keeping it updated! I always read it first, out of all my blogs that I check in with.


  3. You are a fantastic mom - no doubt about it. It is extreme juggling. And I always want to be a better mom, too. I've always wondered what kind of mom I would have been if Harlie wasn't challenged in so many ways. But, you have done better than okay. Your standards are just so darn high! ;-) I have so much more to say! But, I'll just save it for TOMORROW!!! Oh, and I was not surprised at all to read about the photo shoot at your house. I have always thought it was picture perfect! Can't wait to see you!!!

    Christy xo