Every year in November and December, I complain about the work involved in putting together the annual calendar that my wife and I give out as a Christmas gift to family members. I’ll say, “that’s it, I’m done. I’m never going to do this again.” I mean what I say and deservedly so, since it takes a ton of work to organize and create, but then a year passes and I can’t wait to get started again.
I typically fill the calendar with key birthdays, anniversaries, and special events — everything from my parents in-law wedding anniversary, my niece turning 12, to the football schedule for my favorite college team — and then load it up with photos from the past twelve months.
It takes a ton of work and then when I have it together it takes a small fortune to get it printed and bound. Hence my threats about throwing in the towel. “Oh, no one’s going to look at it anyway,” I’ll tell my wife.
She calms me down and tells me to keep at it.
Every picture tells a story
In reality, I really do love the calendar. I’ve been creating the calendar for the past fifteen years and I love looking back through prthe photos. I know that I could go an easier route, relying on Shutterfly and other photo services, but I like customizing the calendar to fit our needs. I’ll reminisce and reflect on everything that we’ve accomplished and been through over the past 365 days. I’ll look at the big events, like graduating high school and starting college, and the mundane ones such as taking the odd family selfie on a lazy Sunday in July.
–I look at one picture and I see how much my son has grown since we dropped him at his college ROTC orientation. We dropped him off as a freshman and in the picture, a recent visit home, he returned as a man. “Look at his arms,” I tell my wife. “He’s got muscles I never knew that he had.”
–I scroll through another page until I come to a picture of my daughter in her apartment. She’s got a bright smile, excited to be out on her own. She couldn’t have been happier. The smile reminds me of another one well in the past. It’s the same smile that spread across my wife’s face when we rented our first apartment. She couldn’t have been happier.
–My youngest son stands erect on another page in his marching band uniform. He looks tall, and dare I say it, gallant-looking in the picture. I think back to another picture that made the calendar a few years ago, where it took everything he had to keep his infant body up right and not falling over.
–And finally, I pull up the various family selfies that we took over the past year. We’re smiling in many of the pictures, but I see a few tears too. There’s the college drop-offs, the goodbyes and the hellos too.
Letting out a sigh
So I’ve finished another calendar, our 2018 calendar. Now all I need to do is just get it printed. With the heavy lifting out of the way, I let out a sigh. I’m glad that I don’t have to pick it up again for another year, but I’m also happy that I have the pictures and the memories for decades to come.
I’ll never forget the smiles and even my hard work. It’s what makes a family.