Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Curator of Now

I love memories. Actually, I love making memories. I adore documenting life (hello to this blog you're reading). I relish taking pictures. I collect ticket stubs,  mementos, treasures, and have 4 shoeboxes full of cards, notes, and letters that mean a lot to me. I honestly just deeply enjoy reflecting.

A few years ago, in the frustrating midst of getting Hank's newborn footprint imprinted in clay (as you do, of course), I tearfully responded to AJ when he suggested we ditch the idea and leave our infant's feet alone, (blame postpartum hormones), "But I'm the historian of the faaaamily!" What the heck does that even mean? Maybe some of you moms (or non-moms. I think it's a generational thing) can relate to this deep need to document. all. the. things. Gone are the days of elaborate scrapbooking and in its place we have instagram, Facebook, blogs, twitter, group texts, photo printing services, and one of my very favorites, photo books. While at first glance these mediums might appear to be so much easier than busting out stickers and crinkle cut scissors (dang I miss those things), it's actually most likely even more of a time suck. "It's so easy," loses its meaning when the minutes of  speedy documenting add up to hours and hours.

Memories mean a lot to me because I know all too painfully that sometimes, that's all you've got. I have a small box on the top shelf of my closet full of Hadley's things. I have baby shower cards, her tiny bows, my medical wristband, photos, even the dress I wore when she died, a tiny drop of her blood staining it. To anyone else this might seem morbid and upsetting, but to me, it represents my daughter and the small assortment of things that belonged to her. Before you send the Hoarders crew to my house, there are some things I parted with and I understand that things are just that, things. These material items and even manifestations of moments such as blog posts, photos, going down the camera roll rabbit hole, and the piles of paper in my memory boxes, aren't as beautiful and miraculous as the actual moment itself. I know this. I believe this.

We just finished putting up a gallery wall in our house last weekend and I really love how it turned out. I spent a decent amount of time browsing Pinterest, then at Kirklands (clearance frames, oh yeah!), and then poring over photos picking just the right ones that I wanted to display. I love our gallery wall. It's got my cute little family, AJ's parents, my parents, our siblings, Hank through various stages. It's us and it brings me so much joy. But while putting it all together, a recurring message kept coming to me. It was this: Remembering these moments is nice, but wasn't it so special getting to live in those pictures too? 

I know, fundamentally, that my role as "family historian" is completely self imposed. I love it, but maybe it's not always good for me (much like my love of Crumbl cookies). Maybe, the time spent documenting could be better spent living in the moment. LESLIE ARE YOU SERIOUSLY LEARNING THIS LESSON AGAIN? Yes,and I'll keep at it time after time until I get it right. You'll still catch me blogging in this space, instagramming and occasionally Facebooking because I enjoy keeping memories and sharing. But I'm making more of an effort to look up, soak it in, and show myself some much needed grace. In seeking to curate the beautiful now, I realize again and again, with bountiful delight that it's already created just perfectly the way it is. No work (or documentation!) necessary. 

May we all seek to relish the moment and not feel one ounce of guilt for wanting to make a Shutterfly book out of it anyway. It's all ok right in this very moment.

Savor Your Sparkle,

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