I’m torn between being pained to say it and panic-stricken at the thought of not having physical family yearbooks to hold in our hands, and very relieved at not having to invest the heavy amount of time, energy and money that goes into creating them. But the decision, nonetheless, is that we’re not doing yearbooks this year, and are probably not going to do them on a regular basis at all in the future.
How did this come to be? A week or so ago, I began sorting through my thousands of pictures taken over the past year, and choosing which ones we’d use in our yearbooks. The process was long and discouraging, and made more so by the reminders that I’d already done the same thing over the course of the last year, right here on this blog. I won’t bore you with all the details of the work that was done and the various “brilliant ideas” I had that I thought might save me tons of time, but in the end, did not. I’ll just tell you that after WAY too much time was invested in the project, and I encountered a number of hiccups along the way, my darling husband, seeing how frustrated I was, began a conversation that turned out to be very freeing for me.
He asked me why I was going to the trouble of making yearbooks. I answered that it was for our children, and that I want them to have these books as memory keepsakes when they grow up. Throughout some back and forth dialogue, he said something like this.
What about the blog? You have this living, breathing blog where you already record the highlights of our lives, and so much more. The kids spend a lot more time re-visiting memories through old blog posts than they pick up the old photo albums and yearbooks, tucked away in the basement.
Of course, tradition has a way of defying all logic, and I had any number of reasons that I was leery of doing away with a tangible yearbook. But for every argument that I had, Iron Man had answers.
What if blogs eventually became a thing of the past? What if my pages somehow got deleted? When I’m gone, how will we pass these memory-treasures to the future generations?
The blog is probably going to be around longer than we are. One of the reasons we went to being self-hosted is so that we can own it and not have to worry about it ever being removed. If we’re really worried about it ever being lost, we can back it all up on disks. With the ever-increasing growth in technology, the kids can probably do whatever they like with it when they are grown… print it, PDF it, keep it on disks, whatever. Who knows, but it’s all theirs for the keeping. Physical books may possibly be less reliable. Books can be lost, colors can fade, fires can happen… Our blog is one of the best ways to keep our memories preserved.
But what about their names? We only use blognames here, and real names are not here.
Our kids know who they are. What else matters?
Oh, but I don’t blog everything that I’ve included in our books! A lot of good memories could be missing.
There’s your inspiration to blog more.
As I considered my husband’s thoughts, I admit I was initially hesitant at the thought of doing something soooooo… non-traditional. But I’m over it. Mostly. And I’m relishing the fact that my children are looking at my face this week, instead of the back of my head.
Don’t get me wrong. I do love our family yearbooks from the past two years, as well as the photo albums from years past. And if I didn’t have this blog – as Iron Man put it, this “living, breathing blog” – which I’m already poring myself into, then the time and money going into a yearbook once a year would be a worthwhile investment. But that’s not the case with us. I enjoy blogging and have no plans for this blog to go anywhere. So for us, it’s not worth it.
But look for family-related posts and pictures to appear more often. :-) And a nice new “Archive” widget off to the right side of the page, there for the purpose of helping us explore older posts and memories more easily.