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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Snapshots


For reasons a little too sad to go into here, it's really been a week for looking back. For looking back at childhood, at growing up, at memories.

A very old friend - one I hadn't seen for years - and I were talking about how we make and keep our memories. It's not just the things that we actually remember for ourselves - it's what we're reminded of, the stories we're told over and over as we rewrite our family's history to make it stronger. Eldest's favourite story - the night her sister was born - has been retold by her grandmother so many times that it flows now: not a detail is forgotten. It's a script, full of happiness. And Littlest once wrote a piece in school called 'My Memory', featuring a memory which bore no relation to what actually happened, because she had been told about it and invented details so vivid she'd started to believe them herself.

And so this is how you'll find me this week - ploughing through old photographs, making slideshows and collages and back-up copies, and trying to remember - all those lovely things we were going to do when the Lattes were truly Little? We did a lot of them - we're just not trying hard enough to remember.

The task has been made even more pressing by the fact that Printerpix, which produce photobooks and canvases of your own pictures, offered me a free book to review back in September. September. (This is how efficient I am.) The chance to throw some of my snapshots into a book that the children could leaf through can't be turned down, however late in the day. I'll show you it when I get it - if I ever get to the end...

I'm not a photographer. I'm not Ali or Kat; I probably never will get the hang of light and my little snappy camera has been dropped so many times by small hands (and large ones) that it doesn't even zoom properly. To be  honest, I only really put photos on my blog so that the LinkWithin widget doesn't look so pitiful. I don't have the energy to meticulously Photoshop each image, so I'm just throwing things together with Picasa, which makes collages and videos super-easy for the visually-challenged. Pixlr-o-matic does all I need to make a mediocre photo look a bit perkier with a border and a bit of a filter. I'm entering no competitions- just making our family's story a bit easier to tell.

It also strikes me, looking through them, how quickly time is passing. The photo above is nearly seven years old (one of Mr Coffee's best, as if he knew that soon after it was taken I would be starting up a blog under an assumed name), which forces me to face up to the reason I've not been blogging recently as much as I once did - my children are growing. It's not appropriate to write stories of tantrums about PE kits now that Eldest is at secondary school.

I've made a blogging career of being stressed; and I'm reaching the point where I'm not supposed to tell you why. I can't switch gears - I can't count blessings, and take pictures of Spring flowers or sunny skies or vintage tea-trays, since you wouldn't believe me. You know who I am. I don't so much see the glass as half full, as stare half-crazed at the liquid inside and convince myself it is speedily evaporating.

Well. I'll leave you now, now I'm in danger of disappearing up my own midlife crisis. Have a good weekend. Take pictures.


21 comments:

  1. I am absolutely crap about remembering to take photos of us. Cake yes, but significant family occasions? No. We are quite good at talking about memories though.

    Hope the sadness gets less sad soon x

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    1. I think a lot of your children's memories will revolve around delicious food - and that's a good thing.

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  2. Oh, Coffee Lady, what happened? In any case, I am sorry, and, like Sue, hope that the sadness lessens soon.

    I've been looking back through pictures, too, for more mundane reasons -- and you're right. There's a lot of stuff there, and it's a happy thing to remember it.

    xx

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  3. I am sorry you're going through a hard time at the moment. I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel soon xxxx
    As for pics.......a light box? What's one of those! I just point the camera and hope it's a half decent picture and that's about as much effort as making sure any random detritus is moved before I hit the button!

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    1. Oh, the random detritus. Can it ever be fully removed?

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  4. I made a photo book once with another company. I'm glad I did even though I receive annoying emails ALL THE TIME telling me to make more. I'm far too busy deleting unsolicited emails I tells ya.

    Sorry to hear things are sad and bad. Hope the silver lining pokes its head out stat.

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  5. I'm sorry, things sound tough there. Hoping helplessly that they pick up soon.


    Not only am I rubbish at taking photos of them, no one rakes them of me either and there's a danger that my girls won't have pictures of me to show their children. We used to take loads. What happened?

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    1. There are no pictures of me. And if there ever are, I take exception to them and delete them.

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  6. thanks for the reminder, just because they get older we still need to keep those memories, and they don't have to be perfect shots, just enough to remind us of a moment. xxx I hope looking back at happy times brings back happy memories xxx

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  7. I am so sorry to hear of your sadness. Sending hugs.

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    1. It's not the end of the world. But thanks.

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  8. Life sounds a bit tough at the moment. Quite apart from the usual this stage in life questioning. There's something weird about having a family of this age - I think it's the dawning realization that childhood proper is being left behind at a rate of knots. Did we do it well enough? Make enough memories. Is our bond strong enough to get us through teenage turbulence intact?

    Your words about my pictures were kind, but possibly undeserved. I just press the shutter button a lot of times and hope it all comes out in the wash. Bit like my parenting philosophy really.

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  9. Time is a bit of a bugger really, I feel. My blogging changed hugely when my kids grew into their middle years, I am only now starting to come to terms with who we are now, and how it all works after years of chasing my own tail. Never did catch it, just gave up the effort of trying. God, it was liberating.

    Be gentle with yourself.

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  10. Ah Life - it has such a way of getting in the way of .....life. Don't forget that your kids will make their own memories and it won't always be the ones you photoed. They'll remember the intangibles - the feelings, the smell, the touch - the things you can't photograph. I hope you feel better soon and please don't despair too much, life is about change and moving forward - otherwise how would we become who we are.

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    1. No. Sorry. My children are only allowed to remember what I tell them. Otherwise they might remember terrible things, like me losing my rag and dropping things all over the floor.

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  11. I love lurking around blogs reading about people's projects and successes and often think that my blog would only feature half finished projects, disasters in the garden/kitchen, rows about PE kits and at the moment lots of rows about screen time ggrrrrrr. I notice that as my kids get older/stroppier I take fewer photos and every so often try to address this by taking loads. My kids will probably remember me forcing them on "family days out" and then shouting at them/bribing them to have their photo taken. The pictures I find fascinating from my childhood are the crap photos....I like to marvel at the swirly 70s carpet and bad hairstyles.

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    1. "half finished projects, disasters in the garden/kitchen, rows about PE kits and at the moment lots of rows about screen time"

      But that is exactly what my blog features. I don't have anything else, either.

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  12. I'm useless at taking photos, I just snap the picture with my cheapo digital and carry on walking whilst my other half is still messing around with complicated settings on his expensive camera!

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  13. I am such a crap blogger friend as I am only just getting through my reader. I am sorry you are maudlin and have had a sad event. But my boys too love stories and I am going to make this the year I make photo books each year. I loved looking though the old photo's of my family after mum died, I wish she was there to tell me more about the events etc. So I am going to do this for the boys. Also she was in the photo's which made me want to be in more, fat belly or not

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  14. I really, really love your blog. It's nice to just take 5 minutes out with a cuppa and read about someone else's thoughts. Nostalgia is a weird thing, it's definitely got a love-hate relationship with me but one thing is for certain - I wouldn't be without any of my memories :)

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