Scrapbooking is a popular hobby these days. There are books, magazines, websites, companies, and meeting groups dedicated to preserving our photo memories in a personally meaningful way. I have a dear friend who creates scrapbooks that are truly works of art; people actually pay her to make scrapbooks for them. My scrapbooks will never reach that level of sophistication, consisting only of photos attached to colored paper and simple captions. Nevertheless, I hope that my children will someday appreciate the books I have made for them. Each boy has his own book so that when they grow up and leave the nest, they can take a piece of their past with them. In their books are all the pictures you would expect to find: birthdays, Christmas, trips that we have taken, as well as some photos of everyday occurrences. All the individuals who have played a role in their young lives are labeled by name so that thirty years from now they won't have to come back and ask me who these people are.
Yet, despite my attempts at thoroughness, I can't help but feel that the most precious memories are the ones that don't fit neatly into a scrapbook. There are so many moments that haven't been preserved on film, times that the presence of a camera would destroy. Playing hide-and-seek in the backyard, curling up with my boys reading their favorite stories over and over, running around the bases at the park, and the quiet times at night when my husband and I get them ready for bed are some of my cherished moments that are captured only in my heart. I wish that there were some way of holding on to those memories and passing them along to my sons, but I have to trust that they are making their own. Although they may not consciously remember these joyful times, I hope that the feelings of love and happiness will be permanently imprinted in them for them to one day share with their own children. Then, their scrapbooks will be complete.
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of The Spiritual Woman Newsletter (http://www.spiritualwoman.net) and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004). She has a Masters Degree in Applied Theology from Elms College.