My firstborn's bar mitzvah photos are in a large shoebox in a cabinet in the family room. At the time, we couldn't afford both the photographer AND the fancy album so we stowed the pictures in a shoebox until we recouped enough to purchase an album. My son is now 30-years-old. We can easily afford an album and yet the photos are still in the shoebox.
Four years ago, in a sudden postmenopausal burst of organizational energy, I purchased a case of photograph albums with the goal of cataloguing the moments of our family's life. The plan was to sort through the hundreds of loose photographs that clog our premium space, toss the double exposures and pictures of people we don't recognize, and insert the keepers into the matching albums. Next, I planned to transfer the photos I had managed to put into various funky, flowery albums into the sleek new ones. In case of fire or flood, all I'd have to do was throw all the easily accessible books into nine or 10 huge trash bags and run. Implementation of my plan seems to have been a problem. Four years later I not only have hundreds of photos cluttering up my family room, I now have a case of empty photo albums taking up half of the floor space in the entryway closet.
I must be post post-menopausal because today I'd rather watch a solid month of "Hoarders" reruns than tackle the photo project.
My children will never know this problem. The photos they take are stored on their computers. In their golden years they won't have hundreds of photos to remind them of days gone by. They will have MILLIONS! Printing them all would take an aisle's worth of ink at Staples. Placing them in tangible albums would take their entire middle age. My granddaughter is 19 months old. I think I've received 12,000 photos. The kids must have at least 50,000 resting quietly on their hard drives waiting for the day the pictures can provide the nostalgia for which they were created.
We no longer capture moments. We capture EVERY moment. My children may be surprised and even a little disappointed to learn that when I receive 400 photos in a single email, as much as I adore my granddaughter, I sometimes don't get through them all. If the very best photo is number 372, there is a possibility I'm going to miss it.
Once in awhile my husband and I will pull some photos from the cabinet and spend an hour entwined on the sofa, wine glasses in hand, gazing at the frozen images of our grownup sons as babies and children. Once in a while is a euphemism for hardly ever, but when we do, the experience is equal parts romantic and sad. As relieved as I am to be free from diapers and carpools and homework, sometimes I miss those little babes.
Snuggling up with a computer doesn't give me that same warm, fuzzy feeling. Then again, when the next hurricane hits, the kids can grab all their photos in one hand.
The thing is...wait a minute...incoming!! I just received a 500-photo email. OMG! Look at her with spaghetti in her hair! Look at her realizing she has spaghetti in her hair. Look at her with clean hair. Look at her with a ponytail! Forget what I said. Keep those photos coming.