I am some what surprised to announce that I finished not one, but two albums this weekend. Not only that, they are two baby books for two babies that are now four and seven, respectively. Ahem. Life hasn’t been crazy, at all. These are both albums from the now defunct Creative Memories line that are specifically made for 4 x 6 photos and are pre-formatted with spaces to write and record and the decorations already provided. I had not been very interested in these in the past, but after this weekend, they definitely have an appeal. I finally told two stories that had been waiting years to be told- total win in my book. I don’t even know if there are any companies that make albums like this now…the whole scrapbooking industry has collapsed since then. (le sigh.) I sat and did most of Josiah’s while watching football on Sunday. (My beloved Broncos won, hurrah!) I might have to find more of these, honestly. As much as I love the artistic side of making unique layouts, sometimes you just want to tell the story without worrying about the details, and these definitely fit the bill.
On a quieter note…
Scrapping Josiah’s birth was hard. Even seven years later. It is only now within the last year or so that I have realized how much trauma we underwent when we lost our baby, how traumatic and scary my pregnancy with Josiah was- so much so that I couldn’t really enjoy the pregnancy for what it was- an uncomplicated, beautiful, lovely pregnancy. I found it very difficult at the time to even be around pregnant women, so fresh the loss of our child was to me, and yet I was pregnant again, Glory to God…but everyone was terrified. My OB, my husband and I…we were all so uncertain. I had people telling me I should abort Josiah because obviously, coming so quickly after such a horrendous loss, there would be so many problems. He hid during many ultrasounds, making diagnoses uncertain…I think that is still what shocks me now. Josiah was born so beautiful and healthy and whole. No medical issues at the time. And had I done what everyone demanded I do…my word…this beautiful lovely soul, our monkey boy, who giggles like a maniac and lights up our whole home with his joyful exuberance, even now, as he suffers….it just. He is a gift from God, truly. He is our miracle child and continues to be so.
It was tremendously healing in ways I didn’t even expect to finally pull these photographs together and tell the story of his first year. I used to think I’d never be able to do it, so painful it was. It feels wonderful to be able to hand these books to their owners now, watch them discover their story.
On Friday, I took the day off. No chores. No laundry. No cooking. None of my usual duties. Things have been so intense and there is still more to go- I knew if I didn’t stop and refuel the next leg was going to be even more difficult. My brain has been so fried, more so than I’ve ever been used to. I mean, I’m a mother of six. I’m used to thinking on multiple tracks and noting things all the time. But this medical stuff? It’s for the birds. I have pages and pages of notes from talking with this insurance, that doctor, this test, that billing supervisor– and all of our appointments are logged automatically into our Google calendar so that our phones will yell and ding and buzz at us in plenty of time to get wherever we need to go– but even so, details keep slipping. It’s pretty overwhelming. I really needed to ‘get out of my head’ for the day.
I was able to read part of a book I’d really been wanting to get into. I sipped all the hot coffee I wanted. (Most of the time it cools before I drink it because of this or that.) And I scrapped. I blasted the Fiddler on the Roof Pandora mix, which has a pleasant mix of show tunes and sang along at the top of my lungs. It was exactly what I needed.
I am not going to deny how very hard self-care has been for me the last few years. It is a bit ironic that the caregivers in medical situations who often need a refuel the most almost always don’t get what they need for the very uncertainty and rapid schedule changes that happen with medical needs. It also doesn’t help that the primary caregiver has become the ‘expert’ on the patient(s), either, which makes it hard to translate for someone else to step in so that we can step back and rest. But it has to happen. I am determined to get creative about meeting my needs so that I can pour out better. No one can give on an empty tank and running on fumes helps no one. I deserve more; my family deserves more. It feels so good to look at these pages. Telling the story is so important to me, and it fills me up in so many ways.
I joined my mom for a scrapbooking date this Saturday at a local crop. (Yes, they still happen, no, scrapping isn’t dead yet!) I’ll admit the last couple of times I have attended I didn’t get anything done- just sat and stared and pushed the paper around. The muse was not there. This time, however, things were hopping. I got these five done (the Coppelia is a two pager) and could have kept going well into the night. My fingers are itching to finish the others that were in my head from Saturday—and we won’t talk about how very long it has been since that has happened! Years! It is a great feeling- I’ve missed this aspect of myself quite a bit. All the pictures are from at least two years ago, sometimes earlier than that. If anything has changed since I first started scrapping, I have definitely learned to date or put an age somewhere on the page- when I look back at older work, I’m really hard pressed to figure out when it was and have to look for clues in the background photos. Save yourself some consternation later!
I keep thinking I’ve found the last of my completed pages waiting for albums, and then I find a few more. I really think this is the last of them, because there are no more un-cleaned-out storage boxes that could fit 12 x 12 pages…but…I could be wrong. These were completed this February, I think. I never would have thought I had so many little cubby holes that these got shoved into. I have more than enough to go into an album, but some of these belong in the children’s albums. Currently all of our albums are stored in a leather ottoman behind our couch. When we found the ottoman originally, it was the perfect solution for the scrapbooks- they were perfectly accessible but also protected. Alas, alack, I have very rough and tumble boys and that poor ottoman is a lot worse for wear. I need to have a better system for storing completed pages until they can get put in the albums and I also need a better system of knowing what stories need to be told from what has already been covered. Don’t even get me started on my digital files…anyways. Enjoy!
As I’ve continued to organize and straighten my office and creative space, I’m finding little pockets of layouts that never made their way in to albums (and never were shared here, either). The first batch today is probably from 2007, back when I started blogging. I have been very disappointed with the Heidi Swapp Chipboard letters from that era- it seems every page I pull out which included that chipboard has fallen off, completely unattached- sometimes one or two letters, sometimes the whole title. Not cool! (You’ll see them missing on “Laughter” and “Resolved”.) The second batch is three pages I did back sometime in January, I believe.