For years I’ve been saying I need to organize my photographs. I have many albums with photos falling out of them and big boxes of pictures randomly thrown together, none of them labeled, no details or circumstances noted. The older I get, the more I worry that I will leave this world with all these treasures left in chaos, and my children will throw their hands up in frustration when they come upon them, shaking their fists at the heaven and yelling, “Mom, why were you so disorganized?” I hate the thought of being yelled at, even posthumously.
When my daughter was here a couple of weeks ago, she took the matter into her own hands. She dragged me to a craft store to buy me scrapbooking materials to create my first annotated photo album. “I’m not creative,” I protested. “I won’t be able to do this. It will be a disaster.” All my whining fell on deaf ears. We walked out of Michaels with a ton of supplies, my daughter eager to get me started in the short time we had before her visit was over and my resolve to try had waned.
My daughter is the queen of scrapbookers, and putting a phenomenal photo album together in short order is not only a joy for her, it comes easily. She has artistic abilities I think she inherited from her Uncle Tony and my father. I, on the other hand, didn’t even inherit the skill to draw a decent stick figure. (Mama did teach me to cook, though. Thank you, Mama.) Emily helped me organize the first couple of pages, showing me how to choose a good layout and how to cut the craft paper to the right size and round the corners so it would fit in the slots. She put me under the supervision of my eleven-year-old granddaughter, and the first time I tried to cut the paper on my own, my granddaughter had to take it out of my hands, patiently show me the proper way to put it on the cutting board and how to use the corner-rounder-thingy.
I haven’t had a chance to touch the project since that day because we all left for our D.C. vacation, I had to clean up the house from the kids’ visit, do laundry, go grocery shopping, play the piano, water the plants, straighten my drawers, and then we went away again for our grandnephew’s christening. Finally, yesterday I told myself, “No more excuses,” and, with trepidation, began working on the album on my own.
I only had an hour and a half to commit to it, but looking at those pictures and thinking about what to say about them in the small space the binder allows, the time flew by, and I found myself wishing I could push aside all my other responsibilities and devote myself to this one project for a few weeks, nonstop. The memories come flooding back at times, or sometimes they are just a trickle, and I shed a tear or two thinking back to some of those wonderful and long-past times. I know I will come across many pictures, as I work on this project, that I won’t remember in detail. My wise daughter said those will be the times I sit with my husband over a glass of wine, and we both try to pull memories out of our heads. Thank you, my sweet daughter, for making me do this.