We’re in the midst of it again: Hallo-Thank-Mas. If you’re anything like me, you might be scratching your head, thinking, “How did it get to be the middle of November – already?” I’m scrambling to organize my family photos to create what has become a beloved annual gift to each of my sons: their ‘Year-in-Review’ albums.
The boys are teenagers now, but sometimes when I’ll pop into one of their rooms to catch up or drop off a bit of laundry that has accidentally co-mingled with my own, a quick, embarrassed shuffle will take place. And while they might be setting aside a comic book or an iPhone, more often than not, it is one of these books. I’ve raised sentimental boys. Their future partners can thank me!
The first books were crudely crafted with the now-defunct Kodak Gallery. They always include photos from the preceding Christmas through Thanksgiving of the present year. As I sift through and piece together pictures, I look for individualized themes. One year, my eldest dressed as Mr. Incredible for Halloween so the lens through which I gazed and told his story related to him being undercover and performing incredible feats all year. These days, I’m using Shutterfly to create books unique to each of the boy’s personalities.
I like to include all sorts of shenanigans, too. For example, one year I captured on film the “great marshing” incident, when my youngest toasted a marshmallow one second too long and it landed not in his mouth, but rather as tribute to the fire gods. That photo showed him bursting into a torrent of tears. Then there’s the family truckster we drove all around Ireland. Just seeing a photo of that blue monstrosity sparks all kinds of tales and sends us into gales of laughter. The books tell of Halloween costumes, performances, artwork, hairstyles, unsuspected snapshots, and the year’s historical happenings. I also include a love letter at the start of each book. Never do I want my sons to doubt how much they are loved or admired.
The books serve as both a poignant reminder of those precious people whom we’ve lost and memories which tickle at the edges of our consciousness. When did we travel to Amsterdam? Was it before or after we moved into our new home? These questions are easily answered by hauling the books off the shelf, and often result in a gallivant down memory lane. Stories get dusted off and retold, laughter abounds.
So when I piece together this year’s books, I’ll be thinking in terms of capturing moments we’ll want to remember, tidbits that might spark togetherness, or a phone call when we’re no longer in the same house. And, perhaps, when I’m gone from this earthly realm, the love I’ve poured onto the pages will remain, a tribute to the moments we built into a life.
If you like the cover photo captured by John Waire, visit his 2012 weeadventure post to see more of his amazing photos. Be sure to head over to John’s A Year in the Light post to see how you can help youngster Joe Henson (and get some great shots for yourself).
How do you like to capture and share family memories?