Scraps of Life, Scraps of Love
Scrapbooking began as a fun and simple hobby for me after the birth of our first child in November 1993. It quickly became much more! Just ten months later I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. As a 29 year old woman, with an infant child and husband of two years, I was utterly stunned. As I contemplated the ramifications of this most deadly of cancers, I began asking some big questions:
"How can I be sure my husband and daughter know how much I have loved them?"
"What if my daughter doesn't even remember me?"
"What if our child has to grow up without a mother's influence at all the different crossroads in life?"
The questions and fears seemed endless. There was so much to say, and I wasn't sure I would ever have the time to say it. Originally, I was told I had a 60% chance of five year survival. I didn't know if I'd even see my daughter go to kindergarten. How in the world could I communicate all my love, hope, and dreams for her? How could I leave my new husband with something to remind him of the tremendous blessing we had found in one another?
It is during this time, that scrapbooking became not just a hobby, but an obsession. I wanted to capture the enormity of my love for my husband and daughter in words, photos, mementos of the sweet life we had shared. I wanted there to be absolutely no uncertainty about how I cherished, valued, and adored these two. I aimed to show our simple days, with all of their silliness and joy. I wanted them to remember who I was, what I stood for, and how I loved them so dearly. I needed to have pages that could say the things I desperately hoped I could express myself, but wasn't sure I would be granted the chance.
I found a great peace in knowing that all of those important things had been communicated through bright colored pages with smiling faces and gentle words. I focused not on award-winning layouts, but on showcasing US, our memories, our life. I was strengthened by the process of creating a legacy of love. Scrapbooking was therapeautic for me, and reminded me that even if my days were cut short, I was among the most blessed of women. I had tasted such joy in my years. By laying out all of our happy days, I realized that I had so much to be thankful for. Resentment faded, and gratitude grew...one page at a time.
Thankfully, I came through two surgeries with great success, and have required no further treatment. I have been graciously blessed to be cancer-free for 5 years! I have lived to see my daughter go to kindergarten this fall, and to welcome her new brother into our family. I have enjoyed countless evenings of talking and laughing, and slow dancing in the kitchen with my husband. I have been given an opportunity to celebrate each day as a gift...not one taken for granted either!
I think it's important to include the "scraps of our life," which I like to think of as everyday treasures. All of the holidays, vacations, birthdays, etc. are the groundwork for family memories and traditions. They are the heart of "Remember when..." stories our children will tell their children. But I also love to scrapbook the non-events -- a snow day from school, making cookies together, playing at the park, a fun lunch at McDonald's. There are a million quiet, seemingly insignificant, moments which make up a lifetime. I want our scrapbooks to show all aspects of our life... the ceremonious, and the simple.
Scrapbooking remains a central part of my life, because it gives me a canvas on which I capture all the overflowing love in my heart, and convert it into a tangible work of art. The pages can be seen, touched, and understood -- even by the youngest of children. How vital that the love story between my husband and I is recounted -- not only for us to enjoy, but as a foundation for our children and future descendants. How crucial it is for my children to know they were celebrated,valued, and loved just for who they are. I need to express those "scraps of my love." I need to always remember to count my blessings and be grateful for the special people in my life. And without question, others need to read the pages. They need to KNOW just what a rich and bountiful love encircles them each day.
Scraps of life... scraps of love... a most worthwhile, important pursuit!
Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: I LOVE Scrapbooking!!!, by Tricia Santiago