I am getting so inspired by Ali Edwards‘s Hello Story that I’m pretty sure I’m going to make 4 or 5 projects just from week 1. It’s seriously the most impressive memory keeping workshop I’ve ever been in, and it’s only week 2 of 12. Pardon my obsession over the next few months in advance.
After making a layout for week 1 closely following one of Ali’s designs, I knew I wanted to create a second project using the story structure taught in the class, but using an original story concept and design.
I decided to create a layout celebrating my female family line. I started out wanting to just include portraits of each of us, but the more I thought about the story I wanted to tell the more I realized that it was about motherhood. My great-grandma Margie, my Grammy, my mom, and I all became mothers at a very young age. This was wonderful and difficult for each of us in different ways, but the end result is I’m so thankful to have been raised by such strong women. I’m so glad that we have short generations because of the close relationship I was able to have with my Grandma Margie, who was an amazing woman and the most kind person I’ve ever known. Grammy died from breast cancer the year Eliza was born, and if I had become a mother later in life, Eliza would never met her. I wanted to create a layout that captured all of that and that celebrates our collective strength as mothers.
I have a big box of photos and memorabilia here already waiting to be sorted into albums and my grandpa (Poppy) brought albums and boxes over to me too. I was able to find photos of each of us holding one of our babies–my Great-Grandma Margie holding one of my great-uncles (there isn’t a picture of her holding my grandmother as a baby to my knowledge), a photo of my Grammy (Shelly) holding my mom (Julie), a photo of my mom holding me, and a photo of me holding Eliza. I think that these photos are so powerful together.
For each of us I listed first and middle names, birth and, if applicable, death dates, the year each of us became a mama for the first time, and surnames (maiden and married). This seems like simple information, but it was a little difficult to dig up and get right. Ancestry sites tend to be expensive, and I tried signing up for a few temporarily with the goal of reading obituaries for my grandmothers, but they were nowhere to be found. Now I’m inspired to search through the local newspaper archives in my local library to see if I can find them. I found calling family members to be much more helpful.
The great thing about starting to ask questions to family members, I’m finding, is that it gets the ball rolling for so much more. Poppy, my dad, and my mom have all been telling me so many stories, spurred to memory by looking through old photographs or from questions I’m asking. I’m soaking it all in like a sponge and can’t wait to document more about it.
Looking for photos also reinforced what I know but don’t always remember when taking photos: I value photos that capture relationships the most. These four photos are my favorites not because they have the perfect smiles or because they are the ones that best show how beautiful my family members are. In fact, no one is even looking at the camera. I loved these photos the most because they show love. When I was looking of the (relatively few) photos we took when Eliza was a baby, I realized that most of them were of her. And most of the family shots weren’t candid, they were all of us cheesing at the camera. Those photos are treasures too, but knowing the the photos I cherish the most are this kind will help me take photos today that will mean something more to me later.
This layout, in case you’re wondering, is going to go into my 2006 album, because that’s the year the most recent photo was taken (and when I became a mama). If you’re curious about Jake’s and my young parenting story, check out this old post.