I wrote back in this post about my goals for February, and so this is the post where I write about how productive my month was.
First, let me just say that February is short. I’m not complaining about that one bit – it’s my least favorite month of the year, and this one lived up to that reputation on a grand scale.
Second, lots of things just sort of fell apart this month, and my extra time seemed to evaporate.
That being said, I did actually accomplish quite a bit in this short, stressful month. Here’s what I did (and didn’t get to):
1. I wanted to catch up on my photo sorting and printing for the system I started when the girls were born. To be specific, I had twenty-two months to catch up on. I usually do this in six month batches, and when I was really on the ball, I printed them and gifted them every Christmas and Mother’s Day. And while twenty-two months sounds much, much longer than six months, I’m still very consistent at taking photos off my camera, sorting them into folders and keeping things organized. I just have to decide which photos to print, and then organize and label them in a way to make it easy to order and sort for four different sets of albums – two grandmothers and two girls.
It’s usually pretty mind-numbing work, but sorting through last year’s photos was also heartwrenching. I would frequently open a folder and find photos that I had forgotten about – photos taken while E was visiting with her cousins over the summer, photos of the last time we saw my niece. Photos that were blurry or too dark, photos that I would normally trash without thinking twice – I studied all of them, looking at everyone in them, studying our faces. Were we appreciating those moments enough? Did we understand what we had? How lucky we were? Did we miss something, some sign that things could go so terribly wrong?
It seemed like a simple enough thing to task myself with, but it turned out to be anything but simple. Everything is still fresh and raw, and as a result, I avoided working on this project late at night, just before bed. I completed 19 months of sorting, and so I’m pretty close to complete. I plan to print them sometime between now and Mother’s Day, but there’s no huge rush there.
2. I wanted to set up a more regular back up system, but I have not done that yet.
3. E made some progress on sorting through photos of her cousin for her special album, and I also grouped photos of her as I was doing my own sorting. We still need to print those as well, and then get them into albums.
4. I got my camera cleaned – swanky. I looked into courses as well, but we had a few unforeseen expenditures in February, and have more in March, so we held off on signing up for any expensive classes. I’d still like to do this as a family – maybe later this summer. Still have my ears open for any figure study classes for adults and younger kids – E’s very interested in this. If you ever hear of anything, please let me know.
5. I started messing around in the Sketchup model of our house, looking at possible portrait wall layouts. We also conducted a little mini-portrait session of our own last weekend – one of the many indoor creative sessions we had going on since the snow and cold have forced us inside so much this season. I’ll post some of those photos later this week.
How I wanted to feel at the end of February:
Organized, artistic, family-focused, and mostly appreciative – of the joys that abound in our lives as reflected in the faces of the ones I love the most.
I can’t really describe myself as feeling organized – I’m just not completely there yet – but the others, perhaps, yes. I really want to be able to say, unequivocally, that I am appreciative for all the gifts of this life, but I don’t really know what that looks like, what that feels like. I look at those photos and I wonder if we knew. Everyone looks good, happy, engaged… alive. That’s the rub here, and why choosing to focus on photos this month wasn’t my best decision. I am so very, very grateful for all the photographs I have, and for the memories they recall. But February will always mark a turning point in our lives, when things shifted and became numbered in a way they hadn’t been before.