I should be getting ready for bed. I just finished my pre-housecleaning clean (she is coming tomorrow, so I have to try to put everything away.) My back hurts, I'm tired and I have to go to work tomorrow. I should go to bed. Instead, I'm on the internet, go figure.
While enjoying my weekly trip into decadence with the Desparate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters, I sat on the floor trying to put thousands (yes, thousands) of pictures into a photo album (or 2 or 3). They are pictures that I took in 2004 on a family trip to Europe. It was my first trip "across the pond," and I was bound and determined to soak it up and to relish every second. We spent several days in London before getting onto a ship and hitting Bilbao Spain, Bordeaux France, Ireland, Scotland, Brugge and Amsterdam, to name a few. We were on Omaha Beach in Normandy the day after the 60th anniversary of D-Day. After the cruise, Rob and I spent 3 days in Paris. And I soaked it up. I dragged him from tourist spot to tourist spot, even if he had seen it several times before. I bought guidebooks. I bought postcards. And I took pictures. Pictures. And More pictures.
Unfortunately, those pictures have sat in boxes, right next to the boxes of paper and stickers and guidebooks for almost 5 years. It is only now, on the eve of possibly taking another such "once-in-a-lifetime" trip to another part of the world, that I am putting those photos into an album. Someday I want to scrapbook them, adding words-my memories- of the trip, of advertures, of our laughter. If I can remember it. And therein lies the rub. While putting the photograhs into the most basic of album pages, I am struggling to remember why I took the pictures. Building after building after building, and I can't remember why I thought it was important.
I think I was trying to capture the trip. I think I believed that if I just had pictures, I would never forget the trip. I wonder now, as I look at some of the pictures and can't remember why I took them, if I missed something, in trying so hard to capture everything. There aren't alot of pictures of the family that went on the trip. In looking back, I find that very sad. Four days in Paris with Rob, and I think there are 3 pictures (of hundreds) of the two of us together. There are a few more that we took of each other. In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if I missed something. Sure, I've got some beautiful shots of Versaille, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and a host of other places. But twenty years from now, how will those pictures help me remember who I was there with? How will those pictures tell the story of Grandma Trudy (then 80 years and still going strong) and Aunt Eunice right there with us, at every port, for every step? How will we remember Grandma holding a pint of Guiness in Dublin (o.k., I do have a picture of that!), or the afternoon we spent in a pub in Falmouth, drinking and telling stories and just laughing.
I hope that somewhere in the midst of the marble and mortar, that I can tell even a tiny piece of the story that was the trip, the story of the people. Yes, we visited some amazing places, but will we remember that we hit a fast food restaurant in almost every city we saw? The horror on the guide's face in Bordeaux when we chose McDonalds over the little cafe that she was leading us to. How do you capture that? (o.k., I think I took a few pictures of the fast food joints too.) I think I took notes somewhere. I think I tried to write things down, so that I could remember the adventures. I hope that I can reconstruct some of it.
And I hope that I will have learned my lesson. This summer, I will probably have the opportunity to see more cities, to tour more of the world, that I once only dreamed of. I will make the trip with a bigger and better camera... and a three year old. Will I take hundreds of pictures of the Coliseum, David and the Vatican, or will I try to capture a smile on B's face as she plays in the pool? Well, maybe a little of both. But maybe this time I'll be able to catch myself. Maybe this time I'll be able to put down the camera once in awhile and soak it up, without trying to capture it. Maybe I can try to commit just a little more of it to my memory.
Then again, ... it is a really great camera, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip... So this time, maybe more pictures of the people and just put the place in the background. Here's hoping.