Today, as I was taking photos of the Fruit Loops at the bus stop for their first day of school, I started to sweat.
I wasn’t sweating because I was experiencing the vapors over having a quiet house for seven consecutive hours.
I wasn’t sweating because I was going to miss the cherubs (pfft….see above).
And, I wasn’t sweating because I was doing high kicks up the street after the big yellow bus pulled away.
No, I was sweating because of the photos themselves. Specifically, the PRESSURE to take photos and maintain my family’s history, one jpeg at a time.
Back in the day, picture taking was a big deal, ceremonial almost. You’d be at a family event and that weird uncle who collected Commodore 6000s and talked about an “up and coming company named Apple” would have some sort of fancy camera that he wanted to try out on the family. You’d all gather around, squeeze in close together, watch Uncle Walt fiddle with the settings and buttons and on the count of three, you’d yell “Cheese!”. Of course, the camera would flash on the count of seven, thereby guaranteeing a photo of Uncle Walt’s nose as he leaned in to figure out why the camera didn’t go off. And you didn’t actually SEE that photo until the next family gathering where it was displayed as a slide on a projector because that’s not at all ridiculous.
Now, the advent of the Polaroid camera made things slightly better in that our burgeoning need for instant gratification could be satisfied. Green hued photo of kids wearing tube socks and bowl haircuts were spit out all across America, much to our delight. We could have photos where we wanted them, when we wanted them. But, Polaroid film only came with ten exposures so you had to be selective. Savvy. You had to decide if someone was “Polaroid worthy” in much the same way Elaine on Seinfeld had to decide if men were “Sponge” worthy. You didn’t *just* snap a Back To School Polaroid. There was thought, planning and posing. At the risk of being controversial, I would speculate that the beginning of photo labeling hell began with that little white strip at the bottom of the Polaroid. Albeit, you only had to label ten photos at a time so it wasn’t THAT hard, I suppose, but still….damn you, Polaroid.
Photo taking has evolved to the insane over the last decade. Gone are the days of loading film, taking pictures with uncertainty and being limited by exposure number. The days of anxiously opening a newly developed roll of film only to find out you forgot to turn the flash on in “It’s A Small World” are over. The days of placing the only six photos that came out semi decently from your 10 day Disney vacation into an album have been replaced with creating 30 page, digital scrapbooks for your recent Tuesday trip to the Pocono Mountains.
Memory keeping has gotten out of hand. And it makes me tense.
Because I suck at memory keeping.
Nowadays, memory keeping is BIG business. HUGE. Any trip to Michael’s or JoAnn Fabric will tell you that moms of today are expected to memorize, digitalize, and scrapbookize every single detail of every single minute of every single day. Aisles and aisles of acid free paper, stickers for everything from weddings to first days of school to first visits to the potty and cut out shapes for page designing. There are tools for doing weird things like die cutting and corner rounding and punching (and you may NOT use that tool to punch someone in the junk, I’ve come to find out…). Words like lignin, pigma and vellum are enough to make suck ass memory keepers like myself lose their minds. And, would someone please tell me why in the Hello Kitty hell I should use Japanese paper over Mulberry paper? Anyone?
Sweating, I tell you. SWEATING.
As if creating physical documentation of our happy family existence isn’t enough, I have to use Instagram. And PicMonkey. And iPhoto. And PicStitch. And holy Hello Kitty, I have to use memory sticks and jump drives. And filters. Or #nofilter. I have to download so I can upload. My four hundred bazillion megapixel digital camera holds approximately one meeeeeeellion photos and I am never forced to chose which one I like best. I get to keep them all. No, I HAVE to keep them all because good moms keep All. The. Memories safe. So, I dutifully upload my one meeeeellion photos to my computer where they will then sit trapped for the rest of their little jpeg lives. And don’t get me started on home movies….that’s a whole OTHER post….
I am going on record: I don’t scrapbook, I don’t create digital photo memory books every month and I haven’t printed out a single photo I’ve taken since 2006. My photos are trapped in my iMac and I give my little jpegs attention only when I need a Throwback Thursday post for Facebook or when it’s time to create the matte finish, photo collage, landscape orientation Christmas card I make every November. The only albums I currently maintain are the ones on my Facebook account because in this day and age, if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen and I want the credit, dammit.
The Fruit Loops will not have individual, beautifully crafted scrapbook albums to scroll through, their baby books are completed only until age one and I can’t remember exactly what I’ve done with their class pictures from the last few years. I do, however, have a wedding photo framed and hung because, let’s face it, I need evidence of the time I was skinny. Priorities, people. But, for all intents and purposes, the Fruit Loops better start snapping and printing photos themselves because their mother sure as hell can’t do it for them. Because I’m a suck ass memory keeper. And because I have NO IDEA what a Cricut is or does.
The Fruit Loops are just going to have to remember history as God intended: by what their mother told them happened out of her memory right here in this blog. Because that’s just about all I can handle….
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