A few years ago I started scrapbooking. My daughter had been doing it for her kids and got me interested. There is a little office off our kitchen that is too small for my husband and I to use for work, so I use it as my scrapbooking room. It’s more like an open nook, with a short wall overlooking the stairs to the basement. There are built-in counters to lay my materials out and cupboards to store them in. Since the room isn’t used for anything else, I can lay out pages and if I don’t finish them, can leave them to work on later. Since it’s off the kitchen, I can run over and add a few things to pages as I’m cooking. It works well. It’s my place and one that Al doesn’t bother to enter.
I’ve been scrapbooking my grandchildren’s lives – a scrapbook for each child. Not just their lives, but their lives with Al and I. Since I didn’t start until the oldest kids were already four, I’m several years behind, but I keep plugging away. Each one starts with “their story,” which consists of where we were when we found out we were going to be grandparents (again). I said in each story that I was doing this so that when I’m gone some day, they’ll remember us and that I love them very much. With each picture I add, I write a story about what we were doing with them. It’s been fun.
Then I changed my focus. My husband celebrated his birthday in February. Two weeks before the big day, I decided to scrapbook his 61 years of life. I frantically poured through pictures, pulled out the ones of him and his family, ones of us, and ones with the kids and grandkids. Luckily I know enough about his childhood life to add stories to the early pictures.
Since he has never come and watched me work in the three and half years we’ve been in this house, I figured I was safe working and leaving things out. Al’s busy doing taxes and is usually buried in his office evening and weekends.
So one Sunday, I’m working away, buried in the past, oblivious to the present. Suddenly I feel a breath on my neck and a deep voice saying over my shoulder, “Is that my book?” Grrrrr. I was so upset. I always hear him come up the basement steps. He never, ever, ever comes into this room. And for some reason, he chooses this time to see what I’m up to. He thought it was funny. I didn’t.
Working on a surprise is fun until it is no longer a surprise. I was so upset, I wanted to quit. That afternoon, I had to go to my daughter’s, so I gathered up pictures and paper and took my stuff to her house, wondering if I would get the book done in time. When I worked on it at home, every time I heard him come up the stairs, (and I was listening very closely now) I would put something over the page I was working on. Even though he knew what I was doing, I at least wanted the pages to be a surprise.
Well, he never again came into the room, and I managed to get it done in time for his birthday. I’ve never scrapbooked so fast in my life. He was happy (even got a little choked up) and I was happy I didn’t give up on my “surprise.”