Posts Tagged With: photographs

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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what story is more important than this

These are the thoughts that hatch as I go through seventy plus years of family photos.

It comes down to being the last living person who has any real understanding of some of these photos, and people. My girls knew my parents, but only in the capacity of children. They didn’t know Grandaddy at all, even though Thing 2 is named for him.

I’m trying to pare down photos of my Grandaddy, mom, and dad, and keep only what tells a story. And then share those stories and let Thing 2 decide how she’s going to proceed. I don’t want her to have to sift through photos and wonder who’s who. Who’s important. Or that she should feel obligated to keep them without being able to answer those questions.
I don’t want her to feel guilty about parting with anything she doesn’t like, want, or understand.

I’m being mindful about each photo I touch. I’m saving much more than I’m actually inclined to, simply because I want to give Thing 2 the opportunity to touch these same photos and see if they mean anything to her.
One example is a letter my great uncle sent to Grandaddy and my grandmother in 1948. My mom was about to celebrate her 3rd birthday and my great uncle was sending pics of being in the army. That was what actually initiated the four and a half hour call to Thing 2. I’m saving all correspondence for her now, so she can see the handwriting and photos and make her own choices.

This process is helping me feel close to my family, but also picking at the scab of grief.

My Grandaddy died in 1992.
I miss him every single day. Not purposefully, it’s just there. A part of me. In my skin. It’s comforting and a sad at the same time. He has always been a part of me and always will. He was my first love. The one who helped me see that love didn’t have to be cruel and conditional.

My mom died in 2011. Mostly I’m relieved I can’t disappoint her anymore. But there are times when I miss the idea of her. Sometimes you just want your mom, even though you know she won’t actually bring you any comfort.
A part of me wishes she could see Thing 1 be Baby K’s mom. But only as long as she kept her criticisms to herself.

My dad died in 2014.
I miss him. The relationship we were building in the last few years of his life. After he came out he was different. Like, he had spoken his truth and could breathe freely for the first time in his life. He loved YBW and was building a strong friendship with him. He was becoming a wonderful grandfather to nearly adult girls and they loved that. I find myself still thinking, Oh! I should call Daddie and tell him…

Going through these photos is helpful.
I feel that twinge of missing them. But I feel peaceful in that.
Seeing pics of Grandaddy in his whites. Or wearing a red wig and making crazy faces.
Or my parents when they were young and actually thought they loved each other.

I want to share as many stories with Thing 2 as I can remember! I want her to know her family.
I’ve got a million photos of me as a little girl, teen, etc. I look so forward to sharing those stories with her!
However arduous this process may be, I’m so joyful to be going through it.

I look forward to sharing stories with her about her childhood. The ones she doesn’t remember. I’m hopeful seeing and touching these photographs will trigger some of them for her. If not, I’ll tell her everything I can remember.

Thing 1 said it wasn’t as much that she didn’t care about the photos as it was she didn’t want to go through thousands of photos to find the six she wants. I’ve solved that problem for her. She can go through hundreds to find the six she wants. I want to share stories with her too, but she remembers so much more than Thing 2 simply because she has three more years of life.

I found this photo of me. Homecoming 1989 maybe?

I sent it in the girls group chat and said, Hey, your momma was kind of a hottie.

How’s that for a story?
Is it only with the power of hindsight we begin to truly see? To truly understand?
I don’t know. But I want to share these stories and these photos with the people I love. I want them to be meaningful and maybe even powerful.
This is us.
This is our life.
This is our history.
What story is more important than this?

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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

What IS the appropriate idiom in this situation?

Yesterday my computer bought the farm.
Is that idiom even appropriate in this situation? I think not.
Honestly, I’d be better off saying my computer committed suicide.
Just up and died. Couldn’t even be bothered to leave a note.

The Pythons in my brain did an entire sketch about it.

“‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This computer is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-COMPUTER!!”

(Now that’s a load of idioms!)

To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. Have y’all heard the expression “I’m about as frustrated as a crackhead without a lighter.”? Yeah…that was me.

Everything was lost. Every. Single. Thing.
All the words I’ve written in the last how-ever-many years.
All the music I’ve spent my lifetime accumulating.
All the photos I’ve taken in the last six years.

I was actually planning to back up all my stuff but my external hard drive is still filled with music for Thing 2 and I thought I had time…
A Willow quote comes to mind. “Irony’s kind of ironic that way.”
Even though this isn’t really irony.

I felt like Carrie Bradshaw.

My precious husband immediately stopped what he was doing and devoted his entire day to trying to suss out what he could salvage. Seriously y’all, that sweet man spent the whole damn day trying to rescue my photos, writing, and music.
I got after researching new computers on my ipad (mini).
A couple hours later, he was feeling pretty confident that he’d been able to get my documents and music, and was seeing what he could do to recover my photos.
HOORAY!
The day was saved…thanks to…the Powerpuff Girls!

No no no!
The day was saved…thanks to…YBW!

I then presented him with a couple laptops I thought I’d like. With a little ‘computer guru’ advice and some tweaking of what I thought I wanted, we narrowed it down to a choice of three. Braving the frigid temperatures, we went to Micro Center. Turns out after typing on all three, the one I thought I most wanted was the I liked least. (Y’all hear Willow’s voice again too, right?)

Today, I have a brand spanking new laptop upon which I will load and edit pics. And write. And listen to tunage. And read. And learn. And create. And shop. And all the other very Robynbird stuff.

YBW decided it wasn’t worth trying to see if he could reboot the old one.
Whole lotta “Bye Felicia.” going on there.
RIP Toshiba.

Dell, I think this is the beginning…well, y’all know the rest…

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railroad at chapman mill

Chapman Mill is a crumbling ruin standing where Prince William and Fauquier Counties come together. I’ve driven past it countless times. Every single time, I say aloud, “I want to go take photos there.” (even if I’m in the car alone)
Well, Saturday two weeks ago, the sun was shining (for the first time in ages) so YBW and I got bundled up against the below freezing wind chills and headed to the mill.
I got to wear my brand new love YOUR melon beanie for the first time!
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(Little D’s new mom and I were texting about getting together and I took this photo asking her to tell him I kiss him. But at least you can see my hat so it’s cool.)

When we arrived at the mill site we were greeted by this.
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I was livid! THE FREAKING GATE WAS LOCKED!! We couldn’t get all the way down the road to the mill. I will admit to saying one or two bad words…well, perhaps it was one or two bad sentences. How dare you hang a sign to welcome me and then lock the gates? Rude!

But…the railroad runs right beside the mill. So I get it in my head to walk down the tracks to the mill.
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Only the moment I walk up the path to the tracks I hear the whistle of a train…I waved to the engineer and he waved to me. It called up all the many times in my life I’ve stood at the side of the railroad and done that. It brought me great joy and in that brief moment, I was a little girl again.
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YBW decides right then it may not be the safest course of action since the sides are steep and there really is nowhere to go but down. I was like, but the train just came by, this is the safest time. We split the difference and I just stood at the path crossing. Honestly, I didn’t want to go down to the mill by myself, I wanted to share that experience so it worked out OK in the end.

I absolutely loved this curve in the tracks. I think the railroad is so elegantly beautiful for being something so well constructed for such hard core usage.
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You know I had to look for spikes while I was up there. And I found some, just lying around in the rocks. I love how a railroad spike and rocks create these natural sort of collages.
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There were three such collages, but this is the particular spike I picked up and carried home.

The mill really is quite compelling. In a hauntingly sad yet beautiful way.
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I’m eager to return when the gates no longer lock me out. The wheel is still there on the other side of the mill. You can see Broad Run, which is a lovely. The view from the interstate is even more beautiful than this view from the railroad. I’m keeping my hackles up, but I’ll be checking back more frequently as the weather warms.

When we left the mill site, we drove down along the tracks just to see where they went. This was the opposite way of home, but we were on an adventure! We were out with our cameras to shoot things that moved us!

I loved the way this railroad crossing sign looked behind the overgrown grasses.
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Lastly I got on my knees in the middle of another crossing to shoot the tracks from a different point of view.
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The mail carrier who had to wait for me to get my shot and get back up out of the way before he could drive his truck over the crossing didn’t seem terribly impressed by my attempt to create art…of course he had a job to do and I was just out shoot stuff.

We decided to go back out today with our cameras. I’ll leave my warm beanie at home today because instead of upper 20s wind chills, we’ll have upper 60s temperatures today! I might even wear a dress depending on where we decide to go shoot.
Spring is kicking down winter’s door today and I intend to take full advantage of it!

Here’s a quick vid about the mill and it’s restoration.
(My advice to you is: mute the music.)

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

clouds at the end of the day

end-of-the-day

Can I please stay in the clouds forever?
‘Cause I really like it here
Can I please stay in the clouds forever?
‘Cause I really like it here

If they can see what I can see
If they can hear what I can hear
If only they can see what I can see
They would really like it here

Just look at everything in front of you
Then look from above
Just look at everything in front of you
Then look from above

Come and please stay in the clouds forever
You would really like it here
Come and please stay in the clouds forever
You would really like it here

Categories: peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

choosing a photographer and the s’mores bar

Wedding planning is in full swing.
I’m equally excited and anxious. That’s normal I suppose…but somehow doesn’t seem quite right.

The most important things to me are a photographer and the venue.

The venue is sorted, Naked Mountain Winery. (Beautiful inside and out and such delicious wine! Sundance especially loves the fact our invitations will contain the word ‘naked’.)

The photographers I had my heart set on are booked on our day. (Though I didn’t stamp my feet, I did have a teeny moment of pouting, with the protruding lip and everything.) 
I rallied quickly and began the search, eventually settling on three photographers.

I sat with YBW and looked at their online portfolios…I’m not all that sure it was easy for him. In his defense, he admits it’s not as important to him as it is to me, and he’s also quick to point out my eye is very different than his. But I noticed he made pretty astute observations and had enough feedback to help me understand where he was coming from.
I spent Saturday afternoon and evening emailing with our top two picks setting up appointments to meet with them this week. The first one Tuesday, the second on Thursday. I like the idea of meeting with the both in one week, it will be easier for me to make my decision.

Been emailing with the caterer too. She’s absolutely spectacular! We’re going to meet with her a week from Sunday for a tasting and to discuss the contract.
When we talked originally, I told her how fall was my favorite season and YBW and I have this quirky love of chicken pot pie. (Of our children, only Thing 2 enjoys this dish, and only recently. So it’s normally just we two.)
She presented us with a sample menu filled with delicious looking foods including roasted root veggies and roasted brussel sprouts. (Yeah…that’s pretty much just me.)
But the thing (apart from the pot pie) that piqued our curiosity is the inclusion of a s’mores bar. Handmade marshmallows, handmade graham crackers and artisan chocolates. (Um…yes please!)
Looking forward to meeting with her and trying some of these yummies and goodies!

All in all now that the planning is active and not preliminary my excitement is growing exponentially. I think YBW’s is too. Obviously different aspects are more important to one of us than the other, but it’s been fun to plan with him. I like hearing his ideas. I enjoy sharing mine.
I’ve learned he’s much more traditional than I am when it comes to the idea of a wedding. We’ve had more than one conversation about how cupcakes are a great alternative to a fancy (and expensive) wedding cake that nobody will eat. (Duh! S’mores bar!)
I suggested letting Thing C wear Chuck Taylor high tops because they are his daily shoe and I want the personalities of our children to be represented. YBW wasn’t too sure about that…but I think he’s coming around. He was very specific about writing our own vows, something I hadn’t even thought about.
I’m adamant about being “prayed over” or “blessed” and he has no care about this one way or another.
We’re figuring out how we want to present the joining of our lives the the people we love. We’re figuring out how we want to do this together. One step at a time. We’re walking these steps together and that’s really all that matters.

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