Earlier this year, a friend texted me a passage from Holly Goldberg Sloan's book "Counting by 7's." From reading just that passage, I knew I needed to read the book, and once I started, I couldn't put it down. A few weeks ago, that same friend texted me a passage from Sloan's "Short." I'm dying to read "Short," but this one passage my friend sent has really stuck with me and deserves its own "On the Children's Shelf."
Before I continue, a quick message to my friends reading this: If you don't already text me pages or passages from books while you read, please do so. I love book texts.
So what could she possibly have written that I can't stop thinking about? She wrote about family photo albums and the stories they tell. Doesn't sound like a deep profound topic, but it was because she talks about the story being told by one person. The person who does the job of making the photo album or scrap book gets to write their version of the family history.
As a photographer and a mom, this made me think a lot. I wondered about the story my family would tell if they made our family photo books. I wondered how similarly or differently we see the same family story.
This week, I got to challenge myself a bit with this very idea. I had the task of putting together a slide show for a group in which my children participate. The photos would cover several years of the children's experiences in their Girl Scout troop. Years and years of photos to tell their story as a group. I immediately found my favorites, but I thought of Sloan's words. I was telling my story, and really, it isn't just my story. It's my children's story. It's their friends' story. It's their troop's story.
So I went back through the photos and choose a few for the moms - you know the ones that make you feel all weepy for how little they were and how much they have grown. I looked at the photos through the children's eyes and picked ones that I knew they would love. They weren't the most artistic photos I've taken, BUT they captured personalities and funny moments. As soon as the video began, and the children started giggling together, I knew I had picked the photos and memories they would love. I picked photos that showed some of the fun things they did because that is part of their story. I picked one for me, that perfect afternoon light photo with the brilliant fall colors that felt like Girl Scouts meets L.L. Bean catalogue. Yeah, that picture was my moment in the story, but unlike other photo groups I've put together, this one hopefully told a piece of everyone's story.
While Sloan's words on a family photo book may not seem that dramatic, they made me think about how I do things. That made me see the world through others' eyes. They made me think. I love when books make me step outside of myself and see the world differently. This book made me see my own actions differently.
If one page could be this powerful, I can't wait to read the rest.