Scrapbook Guilt

Happy July! Congratulations. You have successfully survived the first half of 2016. Don’t worry, I’m not checking in on how your New Year’s resolutions are progressing – or aren’t. My intention is simply to share my surprise realization that this year is half over, and how thankful I am for my teen’s idea back in January to place a Memory Jar in our living room. Before expanding on that fun novelty, though, I have a deep, dark secret to share.Memory Jar

I used to be completely caught up on my family’s scrapbooks. Yes, I mean 100% fully caught up on documenting every child milestone, family vacation, outing to a show or sporting event, etc. You name it, it was in the scrapbook. I blame the digital camera on my falling behind. In the olden days (thinking waaaaaaay back to 2002 here when I’d actually get film developed at a local store), I couldn’t wait to get the prints back a few days later to re-live the fun moments. I’d quickly get busy sorting photos and memorabilia, and designing page layouts. We’re talking cute stickers, colored paper designs that perfectly matched the season or theme of photos, beautiful cloth albums with page protectors, etc. Ugh. I’m getting a guilt-induced pang right now just thinking about how long it’s been since creating my last old-style scrapbook page, and how the extent of my creativity now ends with what I choose to label the file folder on my home computer which houses our digital photos.

Why guilt, you ask? The guilt pang comes from knowing how much my family loves their now outdated scrapbook collection. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen my teens pull down their beautiful baby books from the shelf to capture and post the perfect TBT image on social media, or to show their friends what they used to look like at a certain age. They are lovely scrapbooks, indeed. But what hit me recently is this – although I greatly value those scrapbooks, it’s the fun memories we house in our brains of past events that matter most – our internal file folder system, as I like to call it.

So getting back to that Memory Jar in my living room. The actual jar is pictured above and is already brimming with completed sheets (we may need to transfer to a bigger jar before the year ends! A nice problem, I’d say). It was so simple to create – just a jar, blank sheets of paper and a pen placed nearby. Our plan is to read them all on New Year’s Eve and remember together how 2016 went down. And the best part? It didn’t take hours to create, and it won’t just include my perspective about the year (as our scrapbooks would). Everyone in my family will have contributed to the sharing of memories.

Although a jar of memories is not the most formal documented account of my family’s existence, it is more fun than only having a computer filled with idle photos, a Facebook feed that can’t be passed down from generation to generation, and eliminates my scrapbook guilt. Heck, I may even line up all the little memory papers and take a photo of them for later printing and taping into a 2016 scrapbook!

Yes, congratulations are in order if you’ve found time this year to work on your scrapbooks. You truly rock. But if not, you still rock, and there’s still time to kick it up a notch this year in the memory-making department by creating a “Second Half of 2016 Memory Jar.” It just takes a few minutes.

So get back out there and enjoy making memories with your family this summer and throughout the year. I know one day I will find time to get caught up on my family’s scrapbooks (perhaps when the kids have gone off to college? or when I’m a grandmother and want to show my grandkids how cute their parents were? Who knows!) But for now, I’m going to enjoy every moment with them instead of documenting them.

Here’s to making memories!