I finished Connor's baby book last month.
Don't be impressed.
He'll be five in October.
The books -- that's right, I'm confessing, he has baby books, plural, as in more than one -- are so mammoth, they really deserve their own birth announcement.
"Kelly @ Love Well is thrilled to introduce her newest addition, 'Connor: the First Year.' The books weigh approximately 20 pounds and stand 8 inches tall when stacked. 'Connor: The First Year' joins 'Natalie: The First Year' in the storage hutch, where they will hopefully be kept safe from the elements and all acid-tinged papers."
It's scrapbooking gone wild, people. It's INSANITY. And while I can certainly change my form of scrapbooking -- I'm currently switching to digital, and I love it -- I can't walk away from the idea of scrapbooking. Partly because my children are adorable, and partly because I want them to record my memories for them. But mostly because I have to do SOMETHING with the thousands upon thousands of pictures I take of them each year.
I wish that were an exaggeration. But it's not. And I bet you have a similar problem. In the olden days, when we had to buy film (remember that?) and then take our 36 snapshots and wait for the film to get developed (remember that?) before we got our prints back, we took considerably fewer photos. At least, I did. We didn't even own a camera (besides my pitiful 110, which hardly counts) the first five years of our marriage.
But now? My camera is digital. Pictures are free and immediate. Therefore, I have become the most annoying of paparazzi to my children. I take pictures all day, every day -- especially if we are doing something special like leaving the house or eating breakfast or playing at the park.
Don't believe me? I spent the weekend sorting through the pictures I took last week. I had to pick through almost 700.
(In my defense, we did all sorts of fun things last week, like visit the the county fair and celebrate Natalie's birthday and go to the beach. But still. It's the principle.)
I've been thinking about this digital photo addiction. Surely, some of it can be chalked up to the freedom granted by the digital era. We can see instantly if our shot was in focus or if someone blinked at the flash. We get instant gratification if our photos turn out well. (How many times have you told your husband to come look at the cute picture you just took -- even though he was standing next to you two seconds ago while you took the picture?) Plus, it's free. Why not take 150 pictures of kindergarten graduation? We don't have to print any of them if we don't want to.
But I wonder if something deeper is at play.
As a mom, I am increasingly aware of the passing of time. My children are growing up. My baby, whom I brought home from the hospital about a month ago, it seems, will be seven months old by the end of this week. My daughter just learned to ride her bike without training wheels. My son is playing with Legos -- the small ones, not the big ones -- and he doesn't need my help to get the pieces apart.
I can't stop time. Heck, I can't even slow it down.
But when I take a picture, ahhh. Then that moment is frozen. It's captured. It's mine. I can control time, even if the results are only in kilobytes.
It's a small way of keeping my children one or four or seven forever. Those chubby cheeks. That little hand. That quirky grin. In a picture, time stands still.
Which explains why I take a few pictures almost every day. I want to keep a few of those grains of sand that slip through my fingers.
Time marches on. But pictures are forever.
Kelly also blogs and shares her photos at Love Well.