I’m often asked: Why  Do You Scrapbook?  And while there are 57854 reasons why, in the spirit of simplicity I usually say something like “I think it’s important to preserve our story”.  Which is true, of course.  But there is so much more to it for me.  And one of those “so much more”s has a lot to do with this:

Recently I was thinking about my grandmother. This month marks the anniversary of her going Home and it is the month of her birthday, so as it happens every year around this time, everything about her was fresh in my mind.   Life has a funny way of making people and moments vivid again for us around holidays and anniversaries and milestones doesn’t it?

So I was thinking about the way she laughed..such a beautifully vibrant laugh for such a small woman.  I was thinking about how much she loved natural things and playing with flowers and digging in the dirt.  I was thinking about how I never once (not ONCE) saw her look angry or sound angry.  I was thinking about how much she loved my grandpa.  And politics.  And I was thinking about how she made everyone smile.  She was one of those people who epitomized those words Tom Hanks used to describe his late wife in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”: “She made everything beautiful”.  And that was her story.  As I knew it.  It is her story, written by me.

And sometimes I wonder what was her story…written by HER?  I imagine know it would reinforce the portrait I have of her in my mind and the one my mother has painted and my grandpa.  But I’d love to know…how did she feel when she first became a mother?  What were her favorite songs and books and what are her most vivid memories?  What was it like to grow up in her shoes?

I am fortunate to have been given a glimpse of all of this.  Shortly after she passed, as we were going through her things, we came across a diary of hers from long ago.  What a treasure it was.  And there we were, the whole family, gathered around the dining room table reading from age-stained pages.  And her voice shone through so beautifully.   And it was….nothing less than a gift to all of us.  Because as much as we all knew her, this was her in her own voice.

So I was thinking of this the other day and remembering how it felt that day around the table learning more about this woman we so loved.  And I was thinking about how much MORE I would love to know.  And I was thinking about my own story.  Am I telling it?  Am I represented in the pages of my scrapbooking?  Is my story there?  Will my loved ones, gathered around a table one day, hear my voice?

Are you creating a self portrait?