June 19, 2013

so many photos, so little time

Late last week I read an article about printing out photos for your children's children. It was a great reminder that just because I may currently have a gazillion more photos of my Lovie than my parents had of all three of their kids combined, doesn't mean that Lovie will get to any of them if I don't get them printed.

I have an ABC book printed with images from Lovie’s first 15 months, as well as another book printed documenting her first year, but that’s it. Every other photo since then sits in my computer. Sure it's all labeled by year and month. Sure looking through the photos in order details her life pretty awesomely well. But. What happens if my computer crashes?

I have nothing other than her first year and a half in print (and a couple of canvases up on the wall).

This needs to change. Soon.


For Father's Day I took Taye and my dad out to eat to this Italian joint way out in the burbs. I called up my nephew Jordan to see if he wanted to join us since the restaurant was near where he lived (and since he doesn’t really “do” Father’s Day since he and his dad/my brother haven’t had a relationship since about 2005).

All of us met in the parking lot of the restaurant and when I saw Jordan, a smile immediately erupted on both of our faces. Man, I love that kid.

"I got something for you," I told him getting out of my car while he approached, arms stretched out.

"Yeah?" he asked, sucking on a lip ring. "The time capsule?"

"Dammit, no, I'm sorry. I couldn't find it yet but I do have something probably even better."

I opened the hatch to my car and found a big, brown photo album and pulled it out and handed it to him before sifting through other crap to find a second photo album, smaller and gray.

"You gotta promise me something first," I told him. "These are yours. This is your life so these are yours to do with what you want, but please, please don't destroy anything."

Jordan's eye brow rose as he chewed on both of his black lip rings.

I opened the brown album he held and pointed to the green Sharpie writing: May 1992 - 1998. Opposite the writing were three photographs tucked behind clear plastic. All three photos were of Jordan as a newborn.

"Holy shit," he said.

"Yeah," I answered. "This one," I said, opening the gray album I held and pointing to the green Sharpie writing on the inside cover "is from ninety-eight to two thousand."

He looked at me a bit stunned before looking at his girlfriend who smiled at him.

"I've been holding on to them for a while and since I couldn't find the time capsule, I thought I'd give them to you now. But, there's pictures of him in there...”

“I haven't touched these in years so there's pictures of everyone,” I quickly added.

He stood there for a moment flipping through some pages. Pages with photos of him as a baby, a toddler; photos of him with his young, smiling-yet-tired looking parents; photos of people who are no longer alive; photos of some really great times, no matter how ordinary they were then.

“Thank you,” he said giving me a hug. “I didn’t think anything like this existed for me.”

I smiled, “You’re just lucky you were born before I got a digital camera.”



  1. What a great gift for Jordan!

    If it makes you feel any better, I have non-digital photographs of my daughter's childhood (she's 20 now), and they still haven't made it into an album :( They live in a big vintage trunk in the garage. You writing about your nephew's touching response to your gift has inspired me to sort through all of the photos this weekend, so I can send my daughter a long-overdue album. Thanks!

    1. yay, good for you- and her! and listen, even a BOX full of pics would've probably made his day.

  2. I sometimes wonder about this because every single picture I've taking in the past ten years is digital, and about five years ago, I stopped printing pictures out. Maybe it's time to go through then all and start making albums and frames again...

  3. so sweet. i love that you did that and that he soo appreciated.

  4. That is such an awesome gift.

  5. Greatest gift ever. You are such a gem!

  6. I bind books on the side and have made quite a few albums for people but while that may be true, my own photos reside in a very large pile in a very large rubbermade container. UGH.People really do love a photo gift though.

  7. This is the problem with our digital world. What a treasure my childhood pictures are, and I hope I get organized enough to give my kids the same gift. You have motivated me to get going with printing out pics.

  8. What a gift! And what a great mama you are! Thanks for the reminder to print out my pictures. Like everyone else, I haven't printed in years!

  9. Such a wonderful gift! This story reminded me of a cousin I have--he was adopted and then went to another family (ironically went from my mom's side to my dad's side). I'm slight on the details and don't want to know because they suck anyway. A couple of years ago I posted some very old photos on facebook. He was so grateful because he had no pictures from that time, which never even occurred to me. I know you did a great thing for your nephew.

  10. What a beautiful gift! You are so sweet. And thanks for the gentle reminder about printing photos. I save mine on a portable drive, but I need to create an album for my son.

  11. Ah, photo albums. I haven't done any the last ten years, and that includes our wedding. Man, I've gotta get on that.

  12. Such a tug-o-war, digital versus printed photos. I love all our printed photos, but they are fading and disorganized... and I love the digital ones, but there are so many that they are less precious.

    What a great gift! I don't think there are many better :)

  13. Aw. Glad he was happy to have them! Neat gift. I feel like I'm losing out in some ways taking photos and blogging and not printing or making albums so much. I need to work on this, and your post inspired me!

  14. What a terrific gift to give! It makes me realize how important it is to take the photos off my phone and actually print them. Maybe I'll do that this weekend :)


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