Tuesday, December 18, 2007

it is finished

Or, rather, the components are finished. I still need to put them together. Christmas of 99, when my girl was 10 months old and provided an obvious reason for including an updated family picture within our holiday card, I decided to take the idea one step further (which is less a nod to my creative industriousness than a self-deprecating reference to my compulsive tendency to make things harder for myself) and turn the photo into a little magnet picture. That first year, there was much tiny hole punching and embroidery floss involved. And I was so inexperienced with crafty magnet projects that I affixed fat, button magnets onto the backs. It was a time consuming project and I regretted having taken it on, a little. But it was well received, especially from far flung relatives with whom we visit infrequently, and I knew I'd probably do it again. Since that first year, I've mostly just slapped flat, flexible magnets onto photos, but a few years I've added paper frames or embellishments. By the time we take and choose a suitable picture, I'm pretty much over any enthusiasm for the project. I skipped it all together a couple of years, citing cross country move or new baby for not having my act together enough to make it work. The truth is that I don't really have my act together this year, either, so consider yourself in on the wink-wink nudge-nudge secret that sending the card plus magnet out provides the illusion that I do.

When we visit my grandma, or other far away family, we often find a line-up of our family's faces over the years marching across the fridge. In a few photos, you can see our daughter grow up and my (and my husband's) hairstyles change dramatically. Of course, I could see the same progression, the same pictures, if I dug through albums (or, more recently, my extra hard drive) here at home, but it appeals to my vanity, a little, to indulge in such reminiscing while standing in someone else's kitchen. Something about that context provides a new perspective. We look like a happy family. We are a happy family. But I can see the pictures maybe as someone else sees them and without the wistfulness filter I'm usually looking through.

This year, I'm considering it a public service (albeit to a small, limited public) to send a picture minus my scowling face. Oh, I jest. Our 2007 offering excludes the grown-ups of our little family because it was just easier to take a picture of the kids only. I snapped the photos yesterday and the husband and I edited them together in the wee hours of the morning. The problem with editing photos after midnight is that when you look at the finished prints in the daylight, after a few hours of sleep, you realize that the text is off-center. My grandma won't notice that, though. And when I see it years from now, I won't either. And if I do, I'll smile and remember how sweet it was to have such dear young children to take pictures of. And that's the whole point.

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