Sitting in the middle of the closet, I looked around and felt like there was actually an end in sight. Empty moving boxes were piled in the back corners, and I only had three more boxes left to go. Wishing that I had actually remembered to label half of the boxes while we were packing, I ripped the clear tape away and glanced in each one to see if it was anything I felt like unpacking before calling it a night. For the next hour, I got lost in a random box of odds and ends that had been long forgotten in our storage building. That pair of sunglasses I looked for all summer, my Jen Lancaster book collection, and the swarovski crystal snowflake Christmas ornament that was a gift from my husband (and that I didn’t tell him that I thought I had lost…) were happy discoveries. An email dinged my phone, and I noticed the time when I looked at it. It’s now closer to morning than it is to night, so I closed up the box and put it on my to-do list for the morning.
At the bathroom sink, I was washing my face when it pops into my mind that the portable hard drive that I noticed in the box wasn’t the one I was most recently using to back up photos and such. Trying to remember what might be on it, I start talking to myself out loud, answering my own questions about when I bought it, what was I using it for, is that where those photos from our dating years are stored? It took me just a few minutes to recall it being from around the time we bought our first home, got married, and moved further down south. By this point, I’m slathering on insane amounts of moisturizer and anti-wrinkle everything, and curiosity gets the better of me. I trade in my chance to sleep, for a chance to take a virtual walk down memory lane.
Years worth of folders pop up on my screen. Some well organized by date, then monthly subfolders, then categorized or put in collections by event. Other items are just scattered around in no particular order. It was a digital dumping ground for memories from nearly the past decade. I tell myself I’ll skim through for fifteen minutes, and then it’s bedtime. Seriously. Just be a responsible adult, Lindsay, and go to bed before the sun is up, and you can finish digging through all of this tomorrow.
Knowing myself well, I proceed to fill my tea kettle with water and prep the french press. I can sleep tomorrow night.
What I lost in sleep, I gained much more in the form of clarity and, perhaps, even a few answered prayers.
I’m a hoarder. I hoard memories and stories in the forms of photos and written word. In this digital mess of moments frozen in time, I found something I forgot that I had ever even saved. Years ago – well, now that I think about it, a decade ago – I wrote an almost popular design and lifestyle blog. In this folder, was the exported PDF of every post that I had written during those years of publicly sharing bits and pieces of my life. Hours passed by as I started at post one, and relived the highlight reel of my very own story.
Most things were lighthearted and fun; a twenty-something freelance designer moves away from Small Town USA to try on her “big city” dreams. (Spoiler alert: said twenty-something finds out she’s 100% NOT a city girl after all. You really can’t take the girl out of the country.) Around 2011, things became raw and real as I opened up about pregnancy loss and infertility. A community was born within those pages, of women facing similar trials, and a tribe of support and understanding and healing was formed. Today, I still talk regularly with most of those women.
It was a long forgotten blog, which I didn’t think really had any significant impact on my life. It was fun, and that’s about all I ever recalled of it. Having it here in front of me, however, I realize that it was a pretty amazing time capsule that I hadn’t realized I was even building. Being able to go back to so many of those stories, to have my entire pregnancy documented, the day-in-the-life posts and small adventures that I had completely forgotten about because they were such “little” moments. They’re all right there, for me to visit anytime I want, thanks to that lovely little blog.
I want to have that again. The story of our lives is so full of magic hidden between the mundaneness of everyday, and I don’t want it to simply slip by, unnoticed. I want to take photos of real life as it happens, not just posed smiling faces in coordinated outfits. When I look through our family photos, it’s the ones of my daughter covered in mud after playing in a puddle with our dog that bring me joy. Every detail of that evening comes into my mind, because that photos takes me right back to the moment in our backyard.
After six years of “talking about it,”, countless moments of my husband encouragingly whispering, “you can do this,” months of sleepless nights talking with God about it, I’m doing it. I want to help families capture the beautiful little moments that happen in their everyday; the messy mom hair, the smoothie leftovers on chubby toddler cheeks, the reading of stories in a fort that daddy helped build. I want to share stories; stories from my home, and stories of the amazing families that I meet. Let’s freeze these sweet moments in time, let’s make some memories. Our days are wild, but they’re so incredibly full of wonder.