Scrapbooks of memories

In an effort to simplify Christmas this year, I suggested we all give each other scrapbook pages, which turned out to be as far from simple as you might imagine.

But, man oh man, did I love it.

We are a rather un-crafty family of procrastinators in general and my suggested project, initially received with enthusiasm from our four kids, their fiancees and my husband, threw us all into a bit of a panic in the days leading up to the big reveal.

Molly, who gave each person a specific recipe that she had personally created and tested in her college apartment, scrambled to handwrite them on legal paper and then paste them onto pages she tore from an old photo book.

Katherine and I wrote poems for our pages and spent some stressful hours emailing drafts back and forth to each other.

“Did I write too much about the cabin and too little about her?” I asked.

“No way. She’ll love it.”

“Is this one too much?” she emailed me.

“Are you kidding? It’s beautiful!”

The project’s scope — each person had to produce seven pages about seven people — turned out to be both daunting and sweet. In our frantic efforts to complete our pages during one of the busiest times of the year, each of us was forced to block out distractions and spend some time getting to know each of our subjects.

It was as if we were hanging out one-on-one with each family member as we prepared that particular page.

I really enjoyed both the process and the pages it painstakingly produced.

By giving each of us a particular recipe from her own family’s catalog and telling us the story behind each one, Tara gave us both a means to cook some tasty food and some insights into the entertaining Heaslip clan.

Charlie chose song lyrics and also wrote sweet and encouraging letters, Vinnie gave each person a small packet of a spice he chose for each one, along with a recipe and a note explaining why he chose that spice and that recipe. Vince predictably produced fatherly advice and a joke or two. Danni hand wrote thoughtful messages and also passed along a recipe or two.

The best part about the scrapbook extravaganza, of course, is that even though Christmas is over and most of my family members have traveled back to their busy lives, the pages they produced will last forever.

In fact, I’m about to page through my book again right now.

We’re missing Tara, but everyone else made it home for the holidays this year, which was practically perfect in every way. And, now that most of them have headed out, I get to enjoy the scrapbook pages they left behind. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
I loved making and reading these scrapbooks, but mostly I love keeping them.

7 thoughts on “Scrapbooks of memories

  1. Great idea. After my wife’s mother passed, my wife had all her handwritten recipes as she was a great cook and baker. My daughter put them together in a cookbook with family pictures interspersed, along with Dad’s pithy sayings and jokes. It is a neat way to remember them and family favorite recipes. Copies were made for all three sisters.

  2. We did a scrapbook for both of my parents’ 80th birthdays. We had family and friends hand-write short notes/provide a copied picture telling about an experience with the parent. I even reached out to WWII vets who served with them. Both loved their book of memories and my mom re-read hers many times in her remaining 6 years.

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