Writing a blog can sometimes be just like writing a story for a page layout. How do I start? What should I write that will make everyone read the story rather than just look at the photos and turn the page? What can I write that will make future generations want to read on and learn about what was happening in our lives? What is going to keep everyone truly interested to keep reading? Sometimes journaling is the real sticking point when it comes to getting a page completed.
When my daughter was competing in skating events on a regular basis – I had heaps of photos to scrap, lots of moments to capture of her out there on the floor doing her routine and smiling and entertaining the crowd – with me snapping away in proud Mummy mode! Then I would come home and sift through all of the photos trying to find those few “special” photos that would make a page showing just how proud I was of her and her achievements. Photos selected, page done – then – a text box! Now ….. what to write? How proud, how beautiful, hard work, training, perserverance, dedication – all of those things applied to each and every competition. I’m so glad that I took time to take photos behind the scenes, not just of the performance, to have little moments captured of the girls talking together quietly in between performances, the details of the costumes, the moments when they were getting ready for their performance.
The same story with my son and his football & cricket matches, and when he was speed skating (well, everything except for the “beautiful bit” – that would have to change a bit for the journaling from my daughter’s pages – but you get the gist of it). After so many competitions, matches, and training sessions – it can all seem a bit repetitive. I had plenty of action photos of him out there trying his best, but I also took photos of the coach talking to him, the “mateship” of the boys looking after each other, the hi-fives, the support and of course the muddy football gear.
The “routine” journaling doesn’t just apply to sporting competitions, it could be birthdays, and Christmasses, Easter and family get togethers. Same people in the photos, same happy moments – could end up with the same style of journaling each and every time on each and every occasion. Travel and vacation pages show the gorgeous places visited, the views, architecture, landscapes, beaches, monuments and what an awesome time we have had – but what are the stories behind what happened along the way? Do current and future generations really want to read the same stylised words repeated for each and every similar event? What about the stories that make things real – like the time I tried to make a perfect football cake for my son’s birthday – what really happened behind the scenes, when I had the all time “Mummy meltdown” and had to send everyone (including my parents) out of the house so I could just get on with the job and find a solution to what was becoming the biggest fail ever of birthday cakes. Do we ever really journal those stories? Or do we want to present a “perfect life” in our albums. Do we want our frustrations, tears and disappointments in our books? In the case of the football cake, I got so sick of everyone trying to “solve my problem for me” that I had to get them all out of the house so that I could just be alone and breathe! I know – first world problems right! But, that’s the truth of it. There are always “back stories” to photos that we present to the world. We don’t need to present that truth all the time, but those back stories might be what make the photos real!
Here’s my challenge to myself – don’t always “scrap” the perfect – include the real! Tell the back stories.
- The stress of finding the perfect costume – or making it and have everything go wrong and sitting up for hours the night before a comp to get the leotard just good enough to be able to be worn and out on the floor (no-one is really going to notice that the velvet doesn’t run the same way on both arms while she’s twirling around …. are they?).
- The fact that as a mother, I totally suck in the hair department. Thank goodness there were other Mummy’s that were able to do the braids and the “up-do’s” that I totally failed at.
- I also totally fail at being a football Mum! When it got to Under 15’s football the games just got rougher, harder, and in my mind more brutal and I couldn’t stand to watch or hear the sound of the boys smashing into each other – and watching them lie on the ground after being tackled roughly. And …. that it didn’t just apply to my own boy out there playing, but to every boy that came off worse from a tackle. That now I dread the end of each match when I see the bruises and scrapes and have to live with the “aches and pains” for the next few days/weeks.
- That hours and hours and hours spent driving back and forth and more hours of waiting in the car or at the cold training shed, were all done for love – but actually made it totally impossible some nights to have the perfect dinner waiting as soon as we walked in the door. That planning and timing of meals, shopping, work and laundry were sometimes my whole entire obsession during competition week and quite frankly, there were weeks when it was all too much to cope with – but just had to be done.
- I totally got things mixed up one Christmas and set up an entire table with all the trimmings, food all organised and cooking, gifts, drinks, nibbles for a pre Christmas celebration dinner – everything all ready – to find out that I had totally got the date wrong and was an entire week early in my set-up!
I want to challenge myself, and all of you, to keep your pages “real”. Tell the stories, add the journaling, and keep it real!