Maybe it seems like a silly thing to do. Perhaps, a waste of time. Day after day, year after year, picture after picture.
If I’m being honest, there are a few days, every year, when I consider giving it up. Usually, it happens sometime during November. Darkness falls early, inspiration wanes, doubt creeps in.
Maybe it’s time to give it up, I’ll mention to no one in particular. Maybe it’s time to stop the 365.
Chad and Chanelle are the first to speak up, No way, they tell me. You can’t stop it.
I push through, sometimes, begrudgingly. Day after day, I pick up my camera and shoot something, anything.
And in December, without fail, all my doubts float away like dancing snowflakes on windy day. During the first weeks of December, I begin opening folders of images from January, February, April, June, October and I find the treasure. The treasure of moments, big and small, recorded for our own little history book.
In December, I sort through folder after folder and smile through our memories. Some, that have been seared into my heart and others that have slipped into forgotten recesses of my mind.
As I sort through folder after folder it is impossible not to feel incredible gratitude. Gratitude for the images, sure, but gratitude for so much more.
Gratitude for the hardships overcome, together. For the laugher that occurred inside and outside our walls. For the moments that I thought I’d rather forget, but now see were the building blocks of who we are today.
I feel gratitude for the adventures and the simple moments.
Folder after folder I breathe in thanks and soak in the moments all over again. As my eyes fall on the memories, there is laughter and there are tears. In a way, it’s like reading through old journals, reliving all the moments, remembering how they felt, remember how they made me feel. I am struck with awe at how much they’ve grown and the passage of time. I am struck with the reality that the best times aren’t behind us, but they are right here, right now.
And as I peruse the images, I can’t help but ask the question, which of these images do I wish I didn’t have? Which moment should I have refrained from clicking the shutter?
Not one. I regret none of them.
So here I am at the end of my eighth year of taking a picture every single day and preparing for year nine. The investment returns to me ten-fold. It is worth it.
It is alway worth it.
And if you’re wondering what I do with all of these pictures. Many of them end up in a book I make through Blurb every year. And while we don’t take them out on a daily basis, I will look over on a rainy day, or during a snow delay, or a quiet moment and see one of the kids flipping through the pages.
The books are easy to put together (This year I made the book the day after having surgery, while lying flat on my back.) and the turn-around from Blurb is amazing. In the past, I have been asked if I include all my photos from the year in the yearly book. No, I do not. I take the highlights, some of my favorite moments, moments together, and a selection of portraits and throw them all in. Each year, I interview each child, asking the same questions. This is, by far, our kids favorite part of the book. They like to look back six years ago and see what they liked to wear, or how they would spend $100 dollars (a few years ago, Chanelle said she would buy a horse), or what they want to be when they grow up. It’s all very simple, lacking perfection, but oh, so worth it.
So onward we move, today begins year nine.