Being organized is overrated. For years I have been beating myself up because I have drawers and boxes full of pictures of my kids that have never made it into scrapbooks. I had good intentions really I did, but I also had four kids in six years, and so scrapbooking wasn’t on the top of my priority list. For me it was kind of like dieting. You know the drill. Get geared up. Buy all the stuff needed to be successful. Carve out time to plan. Say to yourself over and over… I think I can, I think I can. I had spurts of success, but overall I fell short…always feeling I should be a better recorder of memories for future generations. I got Hannah’s book up to age 5. Peter has one page…the day he was born and that’s it. Maybe by the time they are 40 I can get it together. That’s what my mom did…except that Melinda still hasn’t gotten hers and she’s past 40 by a few years. (She is the baby after all.) It appears that this trend of photo chaos isn’t limited to me.
Tonight I had the task of picking photos of Peter for his page in his senior yearbook. I have done this three times before. Each time I get a bit sentimental. Each time I tear up. However tonight is the LAST time I will have to do this. Because he is my youngest, this whole year will be a year of lasts for Peter and for me. I sat down and started pulling out the drawers. Photos are stuffed to overflowing. As I perused the mounds of pictures my heart rose into my throat, but more than that I found myself smiling…a ton. Giggles followed, and then laughter. There is no order to my photo mess, and for the first time, that was okay. Snowball fights are in the midst of beach scenes. Sand castles are next to birthing rooms. My own baby pictures are sandwiched in between graduations and baptisms. High school shots found their way into moving days and school pictures. I could compare myself with Hannah in photos where we were the same ages. I put Bill’s elementary pics next to the boys to see the resemblances. Choir shots and band camp. Dancing right alongside soccer. It was a bittersweet hour or so. Laughter and tears mixed together, sitting all alone with my memories.
I decided that I like the disorder of this pile of photos. Each one brings a whole host of new thoughts. It is not like I am looking at just one event, but rather a whole lifetime. It is as if these drawers hold my legacy, the sum total of moments that make up my life. My childhood, then raising my own children, creating memorable times as a family…it is all here. If I were to go tomorrow, you could come and look at these drawers and boxes and see what my life was about. You could feel my heartbeat here. My life has been so very full and there is much happiness in these boxes that it makes me smile. I am at peace with the disorder this time because of the faces that are looking back at me… reminding me that life is short and that time spent with them was far more important than time spent getting organized.