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When my kids were little I made a gazillion scrapbooks of them. Okay, I’m not solid on the exact number of albums, but it was a lot. When we moved and I had to pack, transport, and unpack all the albums, my interest died a little. Then my boys became teenagers and claimed my scrapbooks were “useless”, “dumb”, and they didn’t want them. I felt like perhaps I’d wasted a great deal of time and energy. Enter the girlfriend.

This girl came to visit our humble home and asked to see all the scrapbooks. My heart skipped a beat or two as I gathered them up and placed them lovingly on our dining room table. She poured over them with my son, pointing to pictures and asking millions of questions. She scrutinized photo layouts and read each word I’d carefully scribed for eternity. I knew I liked this girl!

Not surprisingly, my son took a renewed interest in scrapbooks. He has began making digital scrapbooks for his gf for Christmas and birthdays. I think it’s wonderful! I haven’t seen the books up close-I suspect they are personal and for her eyes only. But I am thrilled that he has finally come to realize what I’ve known all along. Pictures are wonderful, but you need the stories preserved with the pictures. Memories fade but words last forever.

You may be wondering about my oldest-the one without a gf to pour over his scrapbook albums and delight in his first words and messy first food pictures. He is the one who said he will pay for my nursing home but will probably be too busy to visit. I really never thought he would nurture an appreciation for scrapbooks. I was so wrong.

Nathan came home from Egypt and spied his Army scrapbook album on the dining room table, along with prints of various photos he’d texted me and also from his posts on Instagram. There were screenshots of text conversations we’d shared as well. My super smart kid stated the obvious. “So you’re working on my scrapbook album?” Yes, I replied. I just need some help in putting the photos in chronological order.

“Oh, I have no idea when all that stuff happened Mom-just put it however you want. I don’t care.” I was not surprised but also not fazed-I am used to working with absolutely no assistance. I sorted the photos by category-photos of friends, photos of him working on base, text conversations, photos when we picked him up at the airport. I began putting them into the album.

The surprise came when Nathan sat down beside me and watched me tape the photos in the album. Then he began reminiscing about the photos. I grabbed a piece of paper and pen and started taking some notes. And those notes went into the album.

After I finished the album, you’ll probably guess who was the first person to pick it up and go through it. Yes that kid started at the beginning of the album with his basic training pictures and went to the very end with his letters home and certificates from the Army. He didn’t have much to say about his journey through time, but the look on his face said it all. He was touched that I had taken the time to put this album together for him. He knew he was loved because of this album. And really, isn’t that why we all aspire to make scrapbook albums? Yes, it is to preserve the past and keep our memories alive. But more than that, these albums show the people whose lives they reflect how much they are loved.

I try to find lessons to learn in every story, and I have to say I relearned a lesson by writing down this story. I need to keep journaling my memories and keep the albums going!

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post. Let me know how your scrapbook/memory preserving efforts are going.

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