Digital cameras make it so easy to take dozens and dozens (and hundreds and thousands) of photos of every little occasion. But of all those hundreds of pictures we take, how many of them ever actually get printed out? Too few.
When I was little, my mom had a huge trunk full of photo albums and pictures–photos of me and my sisters as babies, photos of my parents before they had kids, before they met, when they were kids and my grandparents were young. I loved going through those pictures–laughing at my Dad’s perm and short-shorts in the 70s and my mom’s coordinated Easter dresses and matching bonnets when she was a little girl.
I had some specific favorite photos–me standing on the steps of our house in the city when I was about 2, looking like a baby from a Sally Struther’s feed-the-children commercial. My middle sister at about the same age, wearing some silky pajamas, her blonde hair in pigtails, wearing big, marble-sized clip-on earrings. My baby sister, sitting in her high chair covered in smashed and mushy oreo cookie.
But I realized not long ago that my kids don’t have a trunk full of photos, or even a bunch of photo albums–in fact, we have very few printed photos because every picture we take is digital. Uploaded to the laptop, stored on Shutterfly…and unseen after that.
I decided I had to remedy that. I had a few half-started albums tucked away in a closet that I got out, put on the coffee table, and within days everyone was looking through them and asking about the different pictures. I ordered a hundred prints from Shutterfly that day. I’m planning on ordering a hundred more every few weeks so I can fill those albums. And then buy more albums and fill those too.
I want my kids to be surrounded by memories of their childhoods, to be able to flip through a book filled with images of them at age 3 and see how cute and chubby and sweet they were. I want them to know what their Dad and I looked like when we met, before they were born. I even want them to make fun of my feathered hair and poofy bangs in the 80s and 90s.
The added bonus of this project is that I get to scroll through thousands of pictures online and relive those moments. It makes a semi-daunting task–sorting through a decade worth of photos–into an absolute joy.