For the first time in my life I’ve kept a journal. I have repeatedly tried and with great excitement I would carefully select a fabric bound notebook with hundreds of blank pages and infinite possibilities. I dreamed of the words that would fill those pages with images of an older me reflecting on the memories and my poignant words that would turn those memories into lessons that shape who I am today. I would painstakingly choose a pen with a black point – not too thick, not too thin – and begin to fill the pages. Closing the book with a sigh eagerly anticipating what the next entry would hold. Returning to the journal I re-read the entry and push aside the book with embarrassment as to what I wrote. This is why I have stacks of journals with hundreds of empty pages and a few torn pages marking where the single entry once lived.
This blog has become my first journal to extend beyond the first page. Truth be told I have done the equivalent of ripping out some of the pages but many have remained despite my deep desire to not ever have to look at my images from the first four or five years.
I imagine you readers don’t view these pages as journal entries as they often don’t go beyond our dinner the night before but I look through them and each entry, each meal, each photo marks a place in time that I can now draw from because I recorded it here. Little pudgey fingers that enter the frame as I’m trying to photograph cookies and eager eyes peering over my set, words that hint at our days and the reality of what life looks like in those moments. There is a part of me that feels selfish for including all of that. The words that are found in many how-to writing books instruct to think of the audience but the truth is many times I’m thinking of myself.
I’m imaging myself scrolling through these pages after years have passed recalling every sense that the images provoke and laughing over the stories scattered throughout the pages. Remembering the times that were hard, appreciating the good and trying so hard to refrain from deleting the entries that no longer meet my standards.
In no way do I dare discredit your part in all of this, dear reader, but when I think of my audience many times it’s my family and me, much older.
During the days leading up to Christmas my husband and I looked through images from the Christmas a year before. And while it seems it was only yesterday the images tell a different story. My baby girl was actually that – a baby. One that lays content on the ground and where her smiles are still so new to us. The boys were both a bit more round containing the last little bits of baby pudge and now they are boys; tall and slender, strong and tender.
The years pass more quickly than I ever thought possible and yet in their pages are hundreds of memories and the evidence that much changes in a year.
So forgive me while I have a moment and read through my journal over the past year. It’s been a great one, hasn’t it?
2011 exceeded my wildest expectations. We started the year off with lofty and well thought out goals. Many achieved, some were tried only to find that a better option was prepared for us, and some I’m still working through.
In the midst of it all we ate well.
There were quick meals and lingering date nights.
There were birthdays and cakes. Lots of cake.
And oh the sandwiches.
And then there were opportunities that I never dreamed would become a reality.
Shot for BonAppetit.com
I was reintroduced to film.
Of course there was chocolate. There’s always chocolate.
And a few incredible trips.
Thanks for reliving these moments with me. Such a blessed year. So much to be thankful for, so much to learn from and make me stronger.
If at the end of the year you can say you’ve laughed, cried, and became a bit wiser than I consider it a successful one. And if there was chocolate, there must always be chocolate.
Happy Goodbyes to 2011. Hello 2012.