11.17.2009

Good enough.

Yesterday it rained all day, a dreary, cold rain that perfectly complemented (and probably contributed to) my restless, grumpy mood. I should know by now when I feel that anxious ball of swirling ick welling up in my gut that I'm really better off just sticking my nose in a book because I'm bound to not be satisfied with anything else I try to do. But instead of retreating into the world of fiction, I got up off the couch and started playing with paper.

I love to scrapbook, but it is not my great catharsis. I have found that it's really only enjoyable for me when I'm not seeking any particular results, when I don't feel there's much at stake. When I'm already upset, scrapbooking makes me feel worse. It frustrates me when everything doesn't come out looking the way it had in my mind's eye. And it very rarely ever does. Thus, it's better to begin with no preconceived notions about what a page should look like. But I am a fool, and I like to torture myself.

So. I wanted to make a page to record some of the truly hilarious questions Eliot has been asking me lately. I wanted to capture the magic of his two-year-old curiosity, and I wanted to be able to look back and remember, always, the sense of wonder he inspires in me, and also the daily gift of laughter that he brings into our lives.

In other words, there was too much riding on this page. From the perspective of today, I realize that no page would have been good enough. It wouldn't matter if I were a better designer, a better artist, a better scrapbooker. Any creation of mine would pale in comparison to the reality of driving down the road in the morning or afternoon, to or from daycare with him (when we have the majority of our thoughtful discussions), when he asks me, after much internal consideration, "Momma..."
"Where do hot dogs live?"

In my restless, half-assed, exasperated mood, I tried to record this story, this sweet story about my little boy. And one thing was wrong, after another, after another. I didn't have just the right picture. I couldn't find the alphabet stickers I wanted. I couldn't find the journaling pen. My handwriting was ugly, and on and on, ad infinitum. After much fussing, and messing, and sighing, and huffing, and general pissiness over this page, Eli convinced me to leave it and come to bed.

This morning I woke up to a new day. It's still raining. The sky is grey.

I padded out in my socked feet to the dining room, where scrapbooking debris littered the table, where my unfinished page had spent the night. I looked at it, cocked my head to the side a bit and considered...and then glued everything down...and slid it into my album. I crept back down the hall and quietly pulled back the covers on my side of the bed, and I fell back into sleep with my feet intertwined with Eli's, our mog sleeping soundly between us.


9 comments:

Photographing Mom said...

Rainy and grey here, too. Day after day...I LOVE the "where do hot dogs live?" question!! Great layout.

Maria Ontiveros said...

I think you should print out this post and slip it behind your layout b/c it is beautiful!
Rinda

Adriane said...

Methinks you put way too much thought into scrapbooking. Do it brainlessly like me and its much more enjoyable!

Amy said...

I think it is all about recording the story any which way it comes out. In fact I don't think there is any such thing as 'good enough' when it comes to scrapbooking - it is the story of you and your family and in my book that is always good enough. I also agree with Rinda - you have written so beautifully it would be a lovely reminder to have with your page.

Meghann said...

Love this post, and I think the layout is great. It tells a story and showcases a beautiful photo!

chksngr said...

I agree with Maria - put this behind your layout as hidden journaling...its amazing!!!

Rachel said...

I think I AM going to print this and include it on the layout. Great idea! Thanks to Rinda and everyone else. :)

Sian said...

You make a very good point about having too much riding on a page. I know what you mean. I started to feel better about this when I read what Ali Edwards had to say about "embracing imperfection" in Life Artist.

Suzanne said...

LOVE it! that was a sweet little story too.

i always have to remind myself that scrapbooking/art journaling/etc isn't about having perfect pages, it's about recording memories and moments. and i actually think that so-called "imperfections" are what make the pages more personal. more "me" :)