So in my last post I mentioned that I wanted to talk about a couple more layouts that I did for LOAD. These are not layouts that I love, in fact, design-wise I think they both leave a lot to be desired. My thought for wanting to share them is to highlight how oddly therapeutic scrapbooking can be.
When I was a younger mother of younger children, there were...days. Most mothers of small children will know what I'm talking about. The day that I ran upstairs to brush my teeth before heading to the grocery store only to come back downstairs three minutes later to find Ted, ready to go in his navy blue pea coat, standing in front of the open refrigerator chucking eggs into the dining room - a half dozen or so broken eggs floating on the carpet? This was not one of those days. I had to stifle my laughter at this creative mess but there was something gleeful about how proud and fascinated about this fun discovery he was. But the days of overtired toddlers, the he's-touching-me's, the days of two steps forward three steps back with cleaning/laundry/food prep, the 2 a.m. sheet changes for whatever accident that occurred, ear infections upon ear infections....THOSE are the days. The days that when you finally get everyone to bed and you don't have the energy but rather the NEED to indulge in some "me" time - when you sit down to scrap and look at pictures of these sweet, innocent, funny, rambunctious, smart, loving, BEAUTIFUL faces and thank God you have a hobby that puts these amazing pictures in your hands at moment when you need to be reminded that he's-touching-me is normal and temporary and sign of healthy, happy kids.
Yes. Scrapbooking is therapeutic. I've known that for 13 years now.
But, like most scrapbookers, I've traditionally documented happy stories and memories, largely revolving around the kids or our family activities. My children are older now, they're all in school full time except the oldest who has recently left home to work full time. We don't have the luxury of time to spend lollygagging at the park, the pool, the museum, the beach. There are part time jobs, baseball tournaments, softball games, concerts, field trips, work and school to attend to. I don't take pictures as much as I used to. And I don't have "those days" like I used to. I have fewer pictures to scrap, fewer stories that I can document, but still a desire to sit and play with paper.
As I said in my last post, one of the neat thing about LOAD is that creating a page daily sometimes puts you in the position of not having a family/kid story to tell. Or maybe you do, but something else fits the prompt a bit better, and since you'll be creating again tomorrow, there's no guilt in taking a day to create something that's not about the kids.
One of the prompts this month was to scrapbook something hard. She didn't say we had to name names and put all the dirty laundry out there. We could a vague as we needed to be, if that's what the situation called for. I suppose I could have been more vague. That would have been the tactful way of handling my difficult subject, especially seeing as how it was going into the LOAD gallery where 270+ women would have the opportunity to scrutinize my situation and the pain that emanates from it. But there was no sense, to me, at addressing this subject in an anything less than an honest way. I guess I should just let you see what I'm talking about:
The title has been redone in a more fitting font, the "e" is no longer sitting on the bird's head. And yet, design-wise, I don't like it.
I'm pretty certain that if you click on the layout it'll enlarge it enough to struggle through the journalling. I'm not so eager to throw my parents under the bus that I'm going to post the journalling in an easy-to-read format.
I hope that one day, when my kids are a little older and more mature, that this will help explain why their grandparents don't talk to their mother. I'll be honest: I felt shitty making this page, like I was airing my dirty secret. But then something happened: another LOAD participant commented, thanking me for sharing my story and she told me that it had inspired her to document her story. Her's was a story of parental control - similar, but not exactly the same, but enough that we could really relate.
And in reading her story a weight was lifted. I know there are lots of stories like mine out there, but I don't personally know anyone who is going through the same type of abandonment as I am. People close to me know my story. They understand what's going on, and they know that it affects me. But they don't know how it feels, and among other things, it feels LONELY. So to know that there's someone out there - someone that I know - who is going through this same sense of loneliness and abandonment makes me feel less isolated. That I know that she isn't a bad person, isn't deserving of this treatment allows me to see myself in the same light. I love that this story wouldn't have been told if it weren't for LOAD, and I love that in telling it I found someone else with the same pain. I hope that reading my story brought her some peace, as reading hers brought to me.
Ironically, my mother had a cross stitch piece in the kitchen that read "A joy that's shared is a joy made double, a sorrow shared is but half the trouble."
I was going to talk about a second layout with therapeutic value, but I think I'll save that for another day...