Drowning In A Sea of Photos

I’m finding retirement is a constant battle of what I want to do and what I know I should be doing.  Things I ignored around the house, during the 19 years I worked full time, have filled the void once occupied by work guilt.  I’m not a hoarder…..well, my husband might disagree.  He has NO trouble getting rid of things but I do.  Someone needs to be the keeper of the memories.  What about the family memorabilia ?  Someone has to keep those so they don’t end up in some junky flea market.  To my credit most memories are stored in neatly stacked boxes.

But then there’s the photos…………………….

My relationship with photos began in the 1950’s when I was born.  They were black and white and very small.  They were pictures of different relatives holding me.  It was expensive back then to get pictures developed.  People were choosey about what they took pictures of.  By my first birthday my father had upgraded to a Kodak that took color slides. That’s where the rest of my childhood resides, on slides, in a box.

When my daughter was born we had a nice Cannon that used film.  When our son came along they were offering double prints.  Perfect!  Each child had a photo album for each year of their life and two prints fit the bill.

Then I started working.  The pictures still got taken but writing the information on the back and putting them in the albums didn’t happen.  They got put in a box “to do later”.  Then another box, and another, and another and…….well, you get the picture.

On Saturday, I got brave and got out the boxes.  Yes, I threw some double prints away but mostly I spent time going down memory lane.  I found pictures from when we were first married.  Who were those two young people?  What is a cat doing in our apartment?  Did we almost become cat people?  Why didn’t we keep it when there is proof that it and our puppy got along?

Then panic set in.  Will I ever remember what year these pictures of our children were taken?  Why didn’t the processing put the date on the back?  They put other numbers on them.  Am I missing pictures?  Will I even be able to find a photo album to put these in?  What about the slides that have come unglued?  Is there even a place anymore that can put them back together or will I need to figure out how to do it?

After about 4 hours of going through photos I was a bit overwhelmed so I threw away the doubles and bad shots, consolidated everything into less boxes and put them away until the next time I am photo guilt ridden.

One thing I did learn from my attempt at organization (other that I had an encounter with a pretty black and white cat) is to choose your family photos carefully.  Love doesn’t always last.  Take pictures of just your family.  Then after you’re finished invite the boyfriend from freshman year of college to join you in one.  Take a picture of your son at graduation with his girlfriend then move on to pictures of him and his other friends.  Now that he’s in a serious relationship and almost 30, he probably isn’t that interested in having a bunch of pictures of him and is high school sweetheart.

Divorced?  Your love may not have lasted but your children’s love for both of you has.  If you are both present at an event important to your child take pictures with them and your ex to document it.  The two of you are still their family.  After that you can take a picture of your children and their extended family with the step parents and step and half siblings.  You’ll send a powerful  message that you may not still love each other but you do love them.

A project for another day……figuring out what do to with the pictures stored in the computer. I’m overwhelmed thinking about it!!


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