Finding Yourself in Your "Me" Album
For me, taking photos has always been about holding onto a moment. I turn to scrapbooking to celebrate that moment. Over the years I have made many scrapbooks, and I especially love the digital format. Outside of the albums I have done of my children, most of these albums have been gifts for others. I had never done an album of “me”, of my family and my childhood photos. But this April, I decided to do “my” album. While constructing the layout, I discovered that there is a certain amount of freedom in doing an album just for me. I could preserve and include whatever I wanted - telling the stories I wanted to remember. I soon realized that I wanted to tell almost every story! Very quickly, my album became 99 pages long! I decided to take my time with this album and really work on it over the summer, when my job slows down. Unfortunately this summer had other plans. My mother has a rare neurological disease that had recently required a significant amount of my attention. My siblings and I spent the summer with her - ensuring she was properly cared for. It’s been a very long goodbye that sometimes feels as though it will never end. I didn’t look at my computer - never mind my album - for months. Things have settled down, and in November Forever emailed me about their big sale. It was the kick I needed! Forty percent off a 99-page album is a great savings - especially since I live in Canada, and the exchange rate is substantial right now.
I worked every spare minute of November adding paper, matting, and journaling the pages of my album. After my traumatic summer, it was a surprisingly cathartic process. My dad passed away when I was 17, so this album really was about celebrating the fact that my family existed. We lived, we loved, and we mattered - even though my dad is gone and my mom is soon to be. It is more than a place for all my childhood photos, it is our story, my story that will be here long after I am gone for my children and their children. It’s given me a kind of closure as I accept that my mother is dying, and, even now, is not the person she used to be. It helped me remember who she was, and how much she has shaped my life. It brought to life my father, whom my children never met. It celebrates my siblings, whom I still have. I don’t know if I would have finished this album without the nudge from Forever. Maybe, but not now, when I didn’t even realize how much I needed it. I can’t thank Forever enough, I will be forever grateful.