I have spent the last few days working on digitizing our family photo albums. It’s a tedious task but one done with love. For the first fifteen years of my marriage, I meticulously recorded every event in our lives by hand–cutting, pasting, and decorating page by page until each scrapbook was perfect. By 2009, I had graduated to a digital camera and started creating all of my albums on my computer. It’s a mandatory family tradition that we all five gather, just after New Year’s, to “watch” the album on our big screen TV to critique, correct, and finalize the year of memories before I send the pages away to be made into a book.
As I’m going through each non-digital album, scanning in page after page, I’m reliving every little moment of the lives of my girls thus far (though to be honest, I have so many albums with so many memories, that I haven’t even begun to scan the “Katie and Morgan years”). It’s hard to believe that Rebecca, who turned twenty-one this past Sunday, was ever so small. Everything was recorded from her birth to her first laugh, her first crawl, and her first best friend.
Every year, my scrapbooks grew larger as I filled the pages with childhood milestones, family get-togethers, vacations, and, later, school memories. It is not an exaggeration to say that our albums fill an entire bookcase in our house. And the best part is that the girls really do love pulling them out and looking through them. Katie can see her Baptism, the first time she held her own bottle, the first time she lifted her head, ate spaghetti, and laughed at our beloved Granny.
Morgan’s early pictures from her birth to her first steps and first Halloween reveal her orneriness and her deep, genuine love for her best friend and big sister, Katie. As I look back at all of the fun times and cherished memories, I think of their closeness, and it makes me both happy and sad. Happy because I’ve never known two sisters who are closer than they are. Not that Rebecca isn’t greatly loved by her sisters, but a deep, unwavering bond exists between Morgan and Katie that I pray will always remain, and that is where the sadness comes in.
For you see, our albums are changing as the years go by. There are fewer photos of Rebecca as she leads a life away from home, and next year, my Katie will leave on her own new adventure. The Schisler Family Album for 2017 will portray senior portraits, law school and college acceptances, two graduations, and a world that consists of Mom, Dad, and Morgan, without Rebecca or Katie. It’s an unfamiliar landscape that is sure to bring ups and downs, highs and lows, and the promise of change around every corner.
At least I know one thing for sure. No matter where my children go, I will always have them tucked safely away inside my heart and on my bookshelf.
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three inspirational fiction eBooks of 2015. Her book, Whispering Vines, is a 2017 Illumination Award winner; and her most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.