When my daughter was born, one of the best decisions I ever made was deciding to take at least one picture of her each month. As a new mother, I took many more than that, but in addition to all of those that went into scrapbooks, I wanted a single place to hold just a single photo for each month of her life, something I could flip through with ease.
As fate would have it, one day a friend gave me the perfect little album—the one-photo-per-page type—and the tradition was born.
At first, I couldn’t imagine filling up all of the pages. I did the math. My child would be eight when I ran out of pages! Looking at my tiny newborn back then, it was impossible to imagine ever realizing that day.
But time has a way of flying, doesn’t it?. Days turned into months. Months into years. And, before I knew it, I had an eight-year-old, and the little photo album was filled to the brim.
So, I bought another one.
By this time, however, I was more prepared for how Father Time works: Blink your eyes a few times and your little ones are taller than you.
I counted the pages in my new photo album and did the math. My daughter would be 18 when this album was full! Even though that thought shocked me, I knew it was only a matter of time.
My daughter has a daughter of her own now, but occasionally I still thumb through these sweet photo albums and watch my child grow up before my very eyes.
Here I am holding her up to the window in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, my lips pressed against her tiny cheek. Six weeks premature, she spent the first month of her life in the hospital, where they poked her with needles and shaved off her beautiful hair. The memory still makes me weepy, but oh, so grateful that we survived those dark days.
A mere four pages later, there she is holding herself up, peering wide-eyed over the edge of her bassinet, her little head smooth as an onion.
Two more pages and it is December—my baby’s first Christmas. She is dressed in a delightful red and white granny hat that belonged to her cousin, sitting in her walker, grinning at me, the Christmas tree twinkling in the background.
As I flip through the pages of these books, I am watching her life—and mine—unfold.
There is my first Mother’s Day—picture number 12. She is balanced on my knees. We are smiling. Pinned on my dress is a collection of miniature pink roses, a thoughtful gift from my sister, while my daughter wears a tiny red and white corsage—my father’s sweet gift to his granddaughter.
Not only are these picture books a collection of images; they are a timeline, revealing both ordinary days, as well as special days in the life of my child.
There are holidays and weddings, birthdays and funerals.
First puppies, first Barbies, first boyfriends, first cars.
Photos of her with her great-grandfather warm my heart.
There are school days.
And summer vacations.
And that’s the way the story goes.
That’s the way our babies grow up, right before our very eyes.
Believe me when I say it goes by in a blink.
But it's all there, one photo a month, from birth to eighteen, 218 pictures, telling the story of her life.
After my granddaughter was born, my daughter asked if, in addition to the photos I include in my scrapbooks, I would start a photo album for Arabella, just as I had done for her. I found two small albums online and we're now six pages in. The journey has begun.
Until next time, sweet friends, make the moments count.