I’d been digging through thirty years of photographs when it dawned on me that if I’m ever hit by a bus, my poor kids will never, and I mean NEVER be able to figure out where their baby pictures are. Or their first day of school pictures. Or their graduation pictures. For most of my life, I’ve been considered one of the more “organized” members of my extended family, which, if you know my extended family isn’t really saying much. But I am a fraud. An imposter. As my grandmother used to say, I am (also) “as Irish as Paddy’s pig” in case anyone is interested.
The proof? My photos are a big old mess.
Once, I thought I had a system. I bought those hard sided cardboard “photo storage” boxes and sat on the living room floor and separated piles of photos according to the following categories:
-Our life before kids
And then, feeling pretty dang proud of myself, I placed the corresponding photos from each category into the proper box and stuck them on a shelf. That was about ten years ago, before we all had phones with cameras and moved three times in one year. It was before the Boy graduated from high school and I needed to find photos of him for his graduation open house, which I actually FOUND because of, well, the box on the shelf labeled “The BOY” that I dug a bunch of photos out of. It was before his sister graduated from high school two years later and I found the box labeled “The GIRL” and did the same thing. Each time, I painstakingly taped photos of them to large pieces of foam core board, captioned the cutest ones, and smugly displayed them at their parties.
After the open houses, the foam core boards got squirreled away in a closet with all their pictures still attached and I kept thinking, “One of these days I have to take those pictures off that foam core board and put them away” and then didn’t. When I finally got sick of hearing myself saying this, I finally did. But then, I got busy and left the piles on my desk. I kept moving the piles every couple of months until all the Boy’s pictures were mixed up with the Girl’s pictures.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, I went to look for the Pile to find pictures of the kids with their other grandparents so that I could put together a couple of scrapbook pages for them. It must have moved all by itself to the abyss where stray tube socks that disappear from the dryer and all the AA batteries and the dental floss I’m sure I bought at Target reside because it was gone. Gone.
I admire the people I know who archive their lives with pretty scrapbook pages. The ones who use cute stickers and sayings and envelope their completed pages in clear plastic sheets. I am not one of those people. I maybe could learn to be one of those people if I could find the pile. Or maybe not.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?