So just like most moms these days, I love taking snapshots of my kids throughout the day. Thanks to smartphones it is fairly easy to capture everything from first steps to toddler tantrums to prom preparations. With the ability literally at our fingertips, we can't help but want to preserve the moments that we know will end far too quickly. Today I found myself up a creek without a paddle. It was beautiful outside and for once the whole family was enjoying some lazy backyard fun. It was only natural that I wanted to snap some photos, but my storage was full. Sadly I wasn't surprised. I have over 5k photos on my phone because I have a bit of a problem deleting things. It's a constant battle forcing myself to delete old photos so I can take new ones. If you're thinking, wow she has had that phone for a long time ... think again. I have only had the phone since November.
My inability to delete things goes beyond my cell phone photos. I have boxes and boxes of cards and pictures and homework papers stuffed into boxes in our garage. What's scary is my girls are only 9 and 5. I hate to think about how much I will have saved by the time they are grown. My husband and I know that we will be moving at some point, while we are happy to call this house our home, we know it's not our forever home. In light of that knowledge, we are trying to make an effort to condense our amount of "stuff" so that when the time comes to move, we have a lighter load to carry. Plus, what it boils down to is the fact that it really is just stuff. I don't do anything with the things I save, so why save them?
I will never be able to fully delete the "stuff" connected to my memories, but what I can do is make sure it doesn't block out the memories that are happening today. Thanks to technology, we can get creative when it comes to condensing, yet preserving memories. Something I am starting for my kids is an email account where I will send photos, milestone updates, congratulations etc. The idea is once they are grown they will be able to look back through all the messages like an electronic scrapbook. Then at the end of every school year, I will sit down with the kids and their box of stuff I saved, and let them pick out their favorite pieces. Whatever they want to save will get put into their backpack from that year along with a copy of their school picture. This way they not only have a time capsule from each year, but they control what they save and learn to throw some things away.
I have struggled for a long time with my need to get rid of stuff and my want to save every memory. What I realized today is when we go overboard holding onto yesterday, we miss out on today. If we save everything but it ends up in a box in the garage or on some lost SD card, what's the point? I save the things that I do because I love the people in the photos or the tiny artists whose scribbles decorated the page. If I had to choose between saving my memories that I store in my heart or the pages I store in my garage, I would choose the memories every time.