Today is my daughter Rosie’s 18th birthday. My baby girl is all grown up! She’s finished school, and ready to move on to the next phase of life in the adult world. When you’re a Mum, times like these usually bring up mixed emotions. There’s pride and a sense of accomplishment – we made it! We managed to get her through to adulthood! Yay for us!! And then there’s sadness – that the childhood days are over; and the sense of regret – for the lost opportunities and the things we didn’t get around to doing. When you’re a scrapbooking Mum, well, you have all of those emotions magnified.
On the one hand, I took lots of pictures of her (and her brother Alex) when they were growing up. And, because I have Historian, I know where they all are! (At least the ones that are in digital format – I still had a film camera well into their primary school years.) On the other hand, in the last few years of high school for them both, I didn’t get a great number of photos of them – not for lack of trying on my part, but shall we say a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the subjects?
On the plus side, I have started lots of albums documenting their childhood. On the down side – started is the operative word. I haven’t finished one! Actually, come to think of it, I do believe I have a completed traditional album for both of them of their first year. (Subdued cheer!) Oh, yes, and I did complete a digital album of the first week of Alex’s trip to Europe with his grandfather. And that’s it…
A positive – when I got to an important event, I often took plenty of photos, and some of them came out not half bad. (That’s an Australian term roughly equivalent to “good”.) And a negative – I didn’t get to many important events, or at least get there prepared! As a family, we’re actually really terrible at marking milestones. Birthdays creep up on us completely unexpectedly. Every year. Concerts, drama performances, school events, Guide outings, formals, you name it, they all seem to flash by without warning. I am never prepared for Christmas! I even missed Rosie’s graduation while I was in Nashville for Forever LIVE! (Although high school graduation in Australia is not quite the big deal it is elsewhere.)
So as we move into the new stage of having grown up children, alongside some achievements there are so many things I could be down on myself about. I could even consider myself a failed scrapbooking Mum. But, you know what? I am only a failure if I compare myself to the perfect scrapbooking Mum who has it all together, has a bookshelf full of completed albums and never missed a moment that could be captured and scrapped! That’s not the Mum who raised my two kids. That’s not the Mum who my kids know and somehow still love (even if she also drives them crazy). To be honest, I don’t think that perfect scrapbooking Mum even exists – except in the imaginations of all us imperfect scrapbooking Mums!
If you identify, even just a little bit, with me in my negatives, can I encourage you to stop thinking there’s a certain way you should be as a scrapbooking Mum (or even just a Mum!), and start celebrating all the positives? Don’t feel guilty or down-hearted about what you haven’t done, but celebrate who you are, who your kids are and what you value as a family. By all means set some goals to capture and preserve your family’s happy times and memories (and the sad ones too), but don’t make it a burden for your back or a matter of regret when the plans don’t always work out. Live, love each other, laugh, make memories every day. If the only photo you manage to get is of your daughter giving you “The Look” because you have your camera out AGAIN, why not scrap it anyway? I did.