I have been staying close to home lately. (Long story…) I decided to catch up on scrapbooking. I feel especially guilty about Little Girl’s books — or lack of. Big Girl has about eight completed books including a fairly obsessive pregnancy book with about 30 belly shots. As of last week, Little Girl had one half-completed book that contained three terrible belly shots.
Even the content of the books is different. There are calendar pages interspersed throughout Big Girl’s book. I used them to chronicle milestones in her life — her first step, her first words, her first haircut, and every little illness and cute thing she said. I started filling out the same pages for Little Girl, too, but somewhere around July, 2009 I let it lapse. I was too busy. My husband’s business wasn’t doing great and he had a bunch of medical issues. All I did, truly, was work and worry. Not wanting Little Girl to feel bad in 20 years when she saw the difference in the books, I decided I would fudge…errr…create those calendar pages now by looking at my Facebook page and reading emails sent to and from friends and relatives to pull out cute stories, special dates, and events.
It worked pretty well until I got to February 2010. I remember that month. My husband went in for yet another operation. By that time, he wasn’t working at all. It was all on me. I was able to pull a few cute things off my Facebook wall, but my emails…well, let’s just say they were depressing. I barely emailed a single friend. My emails to my husband were usually a few words written all in caps. “SHUT THEM UP.” Or just as sweet, “I AM INTERVIEWING.” And the exciting, “BUS IS HERE. GET HER.” But those were the minority. The majority of my emails were about work. Lots and lots of queries — writer-speak for ideas pitched to editors in the hopes of an assignment. February was my worst month, and I was trying to drum up more business, which I eventually did since March’s total was three times February’s.
While the point is I didn’t get many cute bon mots, I also realized that — as I read my emails and Facebook wall — I feel very, very sorry for that person. (I say, ‘that person,’ because the person was so unlike who I normally am, she seems like a stranger.) She was so obviously miserable and struggling and unhappy. She also missed out on lots of fun and excitement with her kids.
I don’t make that mistake anymore. Of course, I had to learn the hard way. I truly feel like I missed out on months of life — our life. MY life. My kids’ lives. I was so fixated on making money and being miserable about my situation. Now, however, I realize that even in the face of adversity those kids are truly incredible. Huggable, loveable balls of positive energy that make me laugh.
Scrapbooking aside, this week could very easily be a repeat of February 2010. I am dealing with something very sad and depressing right now, but I am not letting it affect the joy that my kids provide. Take yesterday, for example. I took them to the Long Island Children’s Museum. We played. We saw a concert. We laughed a lot. Once we got home Little Girl kept me and Big Girl in stitches. At one point she sat on her sister’s lap pretending not to see her there. Then, she drove home the joke by saying, “Gee, this is a funny chair.” Later, when we were waiting for my husband to come home Little Girl passed gas. She looked back at us, smiled, and said, “Did you hear that? Someone farted. I wonder who farted?” Big Girl and I were rolling on the floor. Those two anecdotes went into Little Girl’s book. I hope they mean as much to her as they do to me. (Hey, fart jokes are funny…)
I finished an entire scrapbook since I started my project — June 2008 through June 2009. I’m already halfway through a second book. I just started scrapping February 2009. Sure, I know I’ve got a ways to go, but more important: Look how very far I’ve come.