Now that our adult children are living on their own, I have felt the need to claw back the space that they once occupied in our home. It is amazing how much we have accumulated in the 23 years we have lived here on The Ponderosa (the name we chose for our homestead just north of Cochrane, AB., Canada) – Kudo’s to Bonanza! My kids, bless their hearts, are all minimalist when it comes to decorating their own homes, but that’s only because most of their “stuff” is still being stored here! *sigh*
So, for the past two months I have gone on a purge of epic proportions, to get rid of, donate or sell stuff we haven’t used in years. As stated in my last post, it hasn’t always been easy to get rid of things but now I feel like I’ve made huge strides in reclaiming back our space. It also includes boxing up my kid’s items to drop off at their minimalist homes in the near future. Fair warning kids!
One of the most pleasant chores over this past month has been my going through boxes of family memorabilia. I’ve saved a lot of precious “stuff” that my children have made for me, and now I’ve got another box started with Grandbaby things. I know it’s silly, but as a Mom, I just can’t let go of those sentimental things. My kids think it’s gross, but I’ve saved their baby teeth. Am I the only Mom who’s done that? I don’t think so. My mother-in-law saved my husband’s beard when he shaved it off before joining the army. Now that’s gross!
As I started the gargantuan task of sorting through our family pictures, at times I smiled, cried or laughed out loud at the memories and emotion each photo evoked in me. My kids are right, I take WAY too many pictures, but it is so worth it to see our family history come alive in pictures. Pictures do indeed speak a thousand words, and bring back thousands of memories! I have noted that this current “selfie” generation of millennials snap pictures and post them for instant gratification and “likes”. They seem to think that their Snapchats or Instagram photos don’t have any real staying power. They don’t make photo albums other than what can be stored on their smart phones or downloaded onto Facebook. Some photos may haunt them later,…I keep telling young people NOT to post pictures of themselves doing things that they wouldn’t want their grandmother to see. Am I right? Not so with these thousands of photos I have taken over these many, many years. My next project is to scan all my photographs and make digital photo albums. That task alone may take me a lifetime to complete based on my picture-taking prowess, but it will be a labour of love, because my pictures commemorate the Dove family from birth to adulthood and provide a testimony of God’s provision and faithfulness to us throughout those years.
There is something particularly poignant looking at pictures and remembering the kids as babies, toddlers and children. Taking photos at sporting events, concerts, Christmas pageants, birthday parties, holidays and all the zaniness associated with raising three very active teenagers. Then there are the professional photos of their graduations, weddings and the first snapshots of my grandbabies. Even as I am writing, the tears well up in my eyes as I think of how fast the time has flown by. I don’t get to photograph my children as much now that they are adults, but I “steal” their pictures from Facebook once in a while and store them away in files on my computer. It’s not nearly as satisfying for me because I am not there in person when some pictures are taken of them, but that’s what happens when kids grow up, and grow away.
Still, I won’t stop taking pictures as long as there are future memories to be made and smiles to be captured. I love this quote I saw on Pinterest: “Life is a collection of photographs and memories, and we are the container that holds them.” As a memory container, my heart will never be full.