the great and arduous process

Tuesday I brought the first five boxes up from the basement to the Nest to begin what I’ve decided to call ‘the great and arduous process’. Otherwise known as going through the last three decades of photographs. By bringing them upstairs, I’m able to use all three of my work desks to sort instead of sitting in the floor downstairs.
Score 1 for me!

These photos are sacred.
They’re my life.
The lives of my children.
The lives of my parents, and grandparents.
It feels important for me to celebrate these lives. So, I pulled out a champagne coupe and popped a bottle of bubbly.

This was meant to be a Thing 2 and Momma task, but Thing 2 isn’t coming because the world is currently safer if we stay in the place we are.
I’m doing a preliminary purge and sort. I’m working to be mindful about what I keep and why. Then she and I will do it again when we’re able to be together.
She loves photos, and the history behind them. She will be the one who carries that on when I leave this world, and I’m content with that.
About an hour and a half in, I called her to ask a somewhat unrelated question and we stayed on the phone for four hours, thirty-four minutes and eighteen seconds.
We laughed, we cried, we talked and told stories.
So, in a way, we did start this project together, if only for a little while.

My friend Holly asked me what was my end goal.
I didn’t actually have an answer for her.
But after thinking on it a moment, I replied: I think really just keeping what we want and letting go of the rest. Thing 2 will help make that decision. She’s going to pick up the mantle of being the keeper of photos at some point. Thing 1 already said doesn’t care about them, so it will really come down to what Thing 2 wants to do. I’m trying to be mindful about what’s going to be important to and for her. I want to avoid her having the ‘deal with’ them when I’m gone. If she’s involved now, we can decide together what’s important in the long run and what’s immediately important.

I look forward to the joy of sharing more stories while we hold photos in our hands.
That’s powerful stuff.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “the great and arduous process

  1. Looking forward to hearing about this journey!

  2. Peace and Love on your journey 💖

  3. Excellent! That’s a great project. Even before the pandemic, my photo project was my biggest 2020 goal. The sheer volume is overwhelming because I have my mom’s collection. Apparently her thought was if it’s a good photo, then 4-10 duplicates are necessary. Sigh. I have totally enjoyed digging through old letters, etc. But the sorting is a bitch. LOL.

    • Maggie! Me too! I was planning on doing this to get ready to move house in the next year or so. But the opportunity presented itself and I sort of thought I’d be a fool not to use it.
      Your mom too, huh?
      I’m over here like, why do you need so many copies of this one thing? It’s not even that good! But, hey, moms. Am I right? 😉

      • I really had to sit myself down and create some strong criteria for weeding out. 1) if there is more than 1, dump extras 2) if I have no earthly idea who those people are and nothing is written on the back, it goes 3) crappy, out-Of-focus, gone. Plus more, but it has helped me to let them go.

      • Yes!!
        So many, ‘Who are these guys?’
        And red eyes on my girls.
        And did I just take like 8 pics in a row for one halfway decent one?
        It was hard to purge pics of my girls as babies, but I kept what looks good, or has an important story to tell.
        Thing 2 in the NICU. Not a pleasant point in our lives, but integral to her life, and who we are as a family.
        So painful or pleasant, if it sparked a good story, it got saved.

      • You inspired me to sit down and spend an hour sorting today. I’m enjoying the memories.

      • Oh yay! ❤ My heart is hugging yours!

  4. That’s a lot of photos all at once! You have a wonderful relationship with thing 2 obviously ❤️
    Before my Mom passed she put together photo books for my brother and I. So many hours and details. A priceless gift. Mom was a giver.

    • Your mom was not only a giver, but proactive to boot! Good for her!
      For me it really is all about the stories. If we can keep only the photos with the best stories, they’ll live longer and be more meaningful. At least that’s my hope.
      I’m grateful that Thing 2 is so engaged in this process. ❤

  5. That’s a long phone call, but definitely a way to share the experience of The Arduous Task together. I find it cathartic going through old things, but photos can be very bittersweet. Very emotional. I have a couple of boxes still left to go through (I thought I did them all a few years ago, decanting them into photo albums, but clearly a few were missed!) The champers is a brilliant idea. If ever there’s time to make excuses for champers it’s now..xx

    • Cathartic and bittersweet are excellent descriptive words!
      The phone call day was actually easier on me that the quiet day. It was harder ‘being in my head’.
      Champagne for the first day was perfect! Though if I had one each day I worked this process it could be bad. 😉

  6. Pingback: what story is more important than this | therobynbirdsnest

  7. Pingback: knowing and telling of stories | therobynbirdsnest

  8. Pingback: I wanted to share the stories | therobynbirdsnest

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