The Year In Review

Are you one of the women who spends hours making beautiful baby books for your young?  Or are you one of the women who spends hours making fun of the women who make beautiful baby books for their young even though you secretly wish you had the organizational and creative skills to pull off such a book?

I was a scoffer for years. When the boys were born, I became a wannabe for awhile. I proudly call myself a scrapper now – not an easy admission in my Ivy-covered neck of the woods.

I spent the better part of the last two days working on the boy’s books, putting in pictures, self-portraits, writing samples from the last year, and a few of those goofy stickers from Michaels.  Looking them over when I finished, it was hard not to reach the obvious conclusion: “Man, my kids are lucky to have me.  Look at what a wonderful life I’ve preserved right here for their future wives to ooh and aah over!”

Those books are proof that I am a loving mother. Which might be why I make them.

If only I didn’t have all those other pictures in my head.  The pictures not in the books. The pictures that tell me I am a terrible mother and that my kids are destined for prison or a life in politics.  Or both.   Pictures of tantrums, butchered haircuts, soccer defeats, and nasty fights. I don’t take those pictures.

But as we close out the year, as I look back on all that was good and exciting and photogenic in 2011, I’m reminded that we have some editorial control over our stories. It’s not that you can erase the heartache by failing to put it in the scrapbook.  You can’t. But you can chose to preserve whatever is lovely, pure and true, whatever is excellent and praiseworthy.

In my blog posts, on the other hand, I often write about whatever is ugly, exasperating, and unfinished.  That’s an interesting choice given that I have been trained by my faith to remember that the story ends well, whatever I think of it right now.  So when I write about the middle of the story, when things don’t look pretty and the happy ending isn’t obvious, I’m writing to catch glimpses of what God is doing and how he might redeem it all.

It’s hard, though, to capture in a scrapbook whatever hope you are clinging to in the middle of a dark story, harder than it is in a blog post anyway. So if you want to know what 2011 was really like, you probably don’t want to look only at our scrapbooks.  But it wouldn’t serve you well if you only read the blog either. Life is messy and complicated and beautiful – and hard to capture anywhere.

I’ll keep trying, though.  And if it takes more than one medium, so be it.

What about you?  How do you remember 2011?  Did it look more like a scrapbook or blog post?


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