The Watchman

The Watchman

Sunday, January 23, 2011

T Minus 4 Days and Counting

Friday is the big day. I have been working toward this day since June. Preparations have been extensive and involved the efforts of many. I know I wouldn't be even half as ready as I am if it weren't for others, yet I also know that I will still be sorting, planning and reevaluating till late Thursday night so I will be as ready as I can to attend a scrapbooking retreat over the weekend.

Why such a big deal you may wonder. I have been to many of these events before, whether a single day event or an event that covered multiple days as this one. The big deal I learned is how important this has become to my whole family. I have learned that the photo albums that were in our home were something that were taken for granted and I often met with eyerolls at my obsessive picture taking, yet they were expected to be there and have been sorely missed these last six months.

One of the first things I did when we moved into our rental house was to order pictures and hang them on the wall. While these are snapshots of moments in our lives, the scrapbooks were the history of our family. They were what my children would refer to when wanting to refresh a memory or find out what mom and dad used to be like. They were much loved and never just sat on a shelf.

So here we are, time to start over again. But where to begin.

I have been truly blessed that somehow in the destruction of our home, we were able to recover parts of every child's scrapbooks. (Yes, each child had multiple books) I remember at one point when the lot was being cleared, I looked up to see a book hanging from the bucket of the backhoe. Rick signaled the driver to stop and lower the bucket. It was the scrapbook I had put together for Hunter when he obtained his Eagle Rank. It was only a portion of the book, so most of the contents were gone or ruined, but we were able to recover his Eagle Scout certificate. In August a group of my friends got together and helped me take what had been salvaged apart and recover as many pictures and momentos as we could. This task would have been overwhelming if not for these angels and I know that those books and pieces of books would still have been sitting in boxes molding otherwise.

Many people have provided me with pictures of my familly from their own collections. I may no longer have all the pictures we once had, but I now have pictures that I never knew existed. A sweet friend of mine went through all her yearbooks and scanned my photos for me. She also scanned the photo from the one year we were in the same elementary class. We received large packages of photos from family members that included not only pictures of our children, but of Rick's and my childhoods as well. I have also received care packages of supplies and tools to use as I scrapbook. All this has been so greatly appreciated and made my ability to attend the weekend retreat possible.

So here I am in the last days before the event trying to decide what I will work on. During the last few months, I have sent over 4,000 pictures to be printed. I actually caused the printer at our local WalMart to clog, because it had never had so much use at one time. The pictures have all been sorted by year, though not in complete chronological order. My instincts, helped along by a little OCD, made me think I ought to start at the beginning with the photos of Rick and me, before we were "Rick 'n Ann" and move forward to the present. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that this approach would not be the most meaningful for my children.

During the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas broadcast, Michael York uttered the statement that to tell a story, you must start in the middle. So that is what I am going to do. I am going to focus on the years 2004 and 2005. All my children were born then, so they will all have a part in the history I will work on documenting. During this time frame we moved from Ogden to St. George and then to La Verkin. We went to Disneyland and Monterey and made multiple visits to Ogden to spend time with family. It is a time in the lives of my children that was full of adventure, discovery, new experiences and security. I think the lessons learned then are the lessons we need to be reminded of now. So it is time to start cropping. I can hardly wait.