Posts Tagged With: documentation

I wanted to share the stories

Tuesday last I went to the PO to send out all the photos I sorted for my friends and family.
I sent five large first class envelopes, three bigger priority mail padded envelopes, and one big priority mail box.

The first text came from my cousin Chris at 11:32 Thursday morning.

Bless you Robyn! Bless you. Just got the pics you sent me. Brought some much needed happiness, and a tear to my eye. Love you.

The second text came the same day at 5:02 from his sister.

I got the pictures. Thank you so much. Perfect timing Chris is coming over tomorrow.

The third text I got was from Sally at 5:11 Thursday afternoon.

Who are the other two folks?

I got Nicole’s text at 3:24 on Saturday.

We are loving all the pics! Thank you!

At 5:40 this came from Kristen. She taught second grade to both my girls. When Thing 2 was in her class, she had her first child. We saw them frequently. With the aid of social media we stayed in touch all these years, and she was here to celebrate with us last summer at the party for Baby K!

What a surprise!!!! Thank you!!!

He’s checking himself out (heart emoji)

I heard from Becca later Saturday evening at 8:18.

OMG!!!! Loved it!!! Thank you (with a bunch of smiley heart emojis)

Sundance got quarantined away from home, so her package is at her house waiting for her.

And the big box was delivered to the Things father, but I haven’t heard anything. I mean, not that I expected to. But I keep thinking, now I regret being kind to you.

Thing 1 said, “Momma, never regret being kind.” and she’s right.
None of these packages were about me. About the response I got for sending them.

I sent photos to my friends and family because I wanted to share the stories.
Their kids were babies in some of these photos. The stories of their whole young lives caught in these images. I wanted to share those stories, those memories with their families.
I absolutely adored going through these photos. The stories they told came back in vivid detail. Jogging my memory of other stories. I spent a few days reliving my daughters young lives. It was a sacred place to be.
It was also bittersweet. This part of our lives is past. And dwelling too long there would be less precious and more painful with every passing moment.
The time I spent revisiting my life, the lives of the people I love was a beautiful gift. I’ve sent off photos to my friends and family so they can revisit their own journeys. I find myself ready to once again look forward.

I’m pleased to be finished with that portion of the process. I look forward to the time when I can be with each of my girls and go through their boxes of photos. Sharing memories, stories, laughter, and maybe even tears.
In the meantime, I have the last two boxes. These are more photos from my past. Some of me as a child. Some from the collections of my parents and grandparents.
They feel less fun to me. Though, I remain hopeful that I’ll find pics that tell a story I don’t remember. Or one the girls don’t know so I can share with them.

I do still have a box of photo CDs to add to one of those external hard drives. Though, I’m not in a big hurry to get after that. I need a break from my life as a young mother. I don’t want to feel that bittersweet feeling. That pull of the past.

Those CDs will be there. Sitting in that box. Waiting patiently until I’m ready.

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knowing and telling of stories

In case you were wondering the status of the great and arduous process, here’s an update.
This is what It looked like when I finished through 2002.

Each of those boxes was chock full of photos.
I finished the preliminary sort and purge, and returned to those boxes only the photos about which I wanted to share stories. Or photos I wanted the girls to be able to decide what to keep and what to purge.
There are five finished boxes, in those boxes, I sorted the pictures into the following categories.
Thing 1 only
Thing 2 only
the Things together
me
Mommie, Daddie, and Grandaddy (yeah, all in one box, but I only had five)

Of course then I had to bring the rest of the boxes upstairs.

At this point, I’ve gotten through 2004. I haven’t looked at photos since Saturday last. I needed a break this week.
As I sort, if it’s for one of my girls, I write the year and who’s in the pic on the back. First and last names and where the photo was taken if I know. That’s to help jog their memories.

In addition to sorting out photos for the girls, I’m setting some aside to be sent to other people. My intent is to box these up and put them in the mail just as soon as I finish the initial sort and purge. I’m only writing the date on the backs of these.

From left to right, these stacks will be sent to the following people:
Becca
Nicole
the next two are for my cousins
Brooke
Sundance
Sally
the Things father

Grandaddy was on each of these ships.
Either in WWII or Korea.
With a teeny bit of research, I was able to verify which ship was which and label accordingly.
This Golden Dragon thing was kind of cool, I just wish I knew more about it.

I have all his Navy information in a container in the basement. I’m hoping to connect each ship with his time on it, as well as locate his ribbons, dog tags, etc. and compile all that information in one place. For what purpose? Well, in the meantime, just for me. If at some point Thing 2 wants it, yay!, if not, equally yay!, it’s her choice.

It’s interesting to learn more about the man who raised me. He never talked about himself, or his life. As far as we knew, he didn’t exist until the day I was born. He was simply Grandaddy. My mom didn’t talk about his life either, or her own. I grew up knowing practically nothing about the people who raised me.
I tried to do that differently when I became a mom.
I want those girls to know who I am and why. That in addition to being their Momma, I’m a girl. A human being with thoughts and feels and plans and dreams and a sense of humor and flaws. And love.
Knowing and telling each other’s stories is so important!

I’m planning to go back to the photos this coming week.
But today, YBW and I are going to set up the porch! After his cleaning and protective sealing of the porch a couple weeks ago, I purposely waited. I wanted to let the pollening happen before we set it up for porch life. But I’m tired of waiting! I’m looking at the oak trees and realize I simply don’t have the patience to outlast them.
We’re going to set up rugs and furniture and umbrellas today.
Then I’ll be able to go out and porch life whenever I please!

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each story is different

Thing 2’s restaurant closed and she’s without income.
She saved money, but during this time of no income, she’s had to dip into her savings. She needed groceries and vodka, she ordered some carry out, she bought loo paper and deodorant. You know, things we all need.

Before the world went sideways, she and two friends began looking at houses for rent planning to move in June.
Of course being out of work means no money coming in, and dipping into her savings means there’s less savings for deposits and pet fees and the like.

She was having trouble with the unemployment website and expressed her concerns. She had exhausted all her options and no matter how many times she tried, she got stopped at a certain point in the process. The error message was that her social security number was invalid. She said to me, “I don’t exist.”
Saturday afternoon, YBW and I did a bit of research and got on the phone with her. Together, the three of us were able to figure out how to get past that point. Turns out it had nothing to do with her ssn and everything to do with the reason for seeking unemployment benefits. Once she got past that hurdle, everything seemed OK.
Now she waits.
She’s applying for jobs.
Literally all the jobs. From grocery store cashier to the person who assembles the device that lowers coffins into graves.

YBW and I have each said however much it sucks, we’re so pleased she lives at her dad’s and doesn’t have to worry about paying to live with no income.
She appreciates having a roof over her head that she’s not financially responsible for. She understand some people aren’t as fortunate as she is.
I don’t write this as a comparison to another’s experience, I’m simply telling her story.

As much as Thing 2 desires and honestly needs to get out of her father’s house, the timing couldn’t be worse.
Her friends with whom she’s moving are both still working. Still earning money, still padding their savings.
Thing 2 said she doesn’t want to ‘get left behind’. She wants to figure a way to make this work.
I offered to help her financially, emotionally, etc.
I know I can only help her so much. I know she has to do things for herself.

It’s hard to watch her work so hard and be thwarted by circumstances beyond her control.
She’s talking about school. More seriously than she ever has before.
She wants to study funeral services. This is something she’s been talking about rather seriously for about two years.
She and I did some research and traded links in emails all afternoon Saturday.
She has anxiety about the financial aspect of going to school.
I can’t alleviate all that anxiety, but I can help.

She finally decided to get her mental and physical health in order. She finally decided to get her living arrangements in order. She’s doing some seriously hard work.
Sometimes hard work looks like one step forward, two steps back.
This looks a bit more like one step forward, five steps back.
She’s looking for work.
She’s applied for unemployment.
She’s hopeful money from the government will help.

We were talking about the differences between what’s going on here and what’s going on in Canada and I said I read that the checks from the US government are essentially tax credits meant to offset 2020 federal income taxes.

Sunday morning she sent this in the group chat.

You can see that Thing 1 has some pretty strong opinions about this.

The Things and I talked about how things work in our country. We talked about each other. We talked about the state of the world.

It seems to me we’re all so good at seeing things from our own point of view, especially now when we’re staying put more than ever before. But I find it helpful to experience things from other points of view. I like understanding what other people think and feel. Asking questions, getting answers, learning opinions.
I know so many of us are blogging about it.
I asked and received Thing 2’s consent to write about this.

Every story is different.
We each go through this in our own way.
Sharing our experiences helps everyone.
This is our life.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

write it down

On his first day working from home, YBW said to me, “I wonder if I should be documenting this time?” His voice got all ‘movie trailer guy’ and he said, “YBW working from home: day one.”
I giggled, then encouraged him to document.

I told him about reading this interview with University of Virginia professor Herbert ‘Tico’ Braun.
In an email encouraging his current and former students to document their lives “during this unprecedented time” he wrote:

The mantra of our course is, ‘Write it down.’ When you do, much of your life and who you are will be different than if you don’t.

He tells his students, “You do not write alone.”
He’s so right!
We don’t write alone. Especially here, in this blogging community.
LA is sharing her life in this time. So is Maggie. Ellieejay and Betul shared theirs at Pointless Overthinking, Claudette is sharing her’s too.

What I love about reading these posts is that in an anxious and fearful time, these ladies are being real. Speaking their truths. Being honest and unmerciful with their thoughts and feelings. And using humor to their advantage.

I thank you for documenting your lives in these ‘unprecedented’ times. It helps us realize we are not alone, however shut away from the world we are. We are a community of human beings. And no matter how far and wide we are spread, we are all in this together.
By sharing our lives via the written word we begin to feel more connected in the immediate, and as time goes on these words will be powerful documentation to look back upon.

I’m choosing to journal about what I think and how I feel about this time in our world. It looks different than my blogging, but I approach it with the same level of honest and unmerciful truth, and a metric-fuck-ton more sass and complete disregard for proper grammar.
Regardless of where I write, I’m choosing to acknowledge fear and anxiety, flex my humor muscles, and embrace a whole lotta love, grace, and gratitude.

We’re all in this together.
Thank you.
I am truly grateful that we do not write alone.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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