Since the last two weekends have been rather lack-luster for me, I haven’t really created any weekend pages. I think I underestimated how boring our weekends were going to be in the throes of Winter – but with the weather turning warmer I anticipate more activity.

I’ve become accustomed to making a scrapbook page each week, though, so over the weekend I decided to tackle a page for Nicholas’ album. Nicholas’ albums are filled with little glimpses of him and the person he is becoming. His favorite things, his oddities, his little backyard adventures. I’m not an “event” scrapper by any stretch of the imagination, you won’t typically find any pages of his Halloween costumes, unless we went through a particularly rough battle picking it out. I have pictures of those events so the legacy lives on (should he ever want to go back and see who was at his 7th birthday party), but I don’t typically have a lot to SAY about the event. A lot of times I have things to say about him personally, the ways he has changed over the past year for instance, and I may use a picture of him from his birthday party, but the party itself wouldn’t be obvious to the viewer. It’s just how I scrapbook, there’s no right or wrong way.

I’m not a “big event” person in general, actually, so I suppose our family albums are a reflection of that. I’m an intimate person by nature, I would much rather have a one-on-one dinner with someone than attend a birthday party for that same person. And I cringe at the idea of being in the spotlight myself, so you can imagine that weddings, birthday parties and other personal celebrations can send me into something of a tailspin.

The majority of the pages that I make for his album are things that are on my mind as a mom. I call them my “little love letters” to him. The things he’s not interested in hearing me blather on and on about, but one day he may want to know. Nicholas routinely pulls his scrapbook albums out from our entertainment center and flips through them while he’s in the living room, and all those little love letters sink in over time. If I were to sit down with him and gush about how great he is, he’d act as though I were torturing him – although I know from experience that, as a kid, you can’t hear those sorts of things enough. Like me, he has a hard time accepting compliments without making some sort of joke to ease his discomfort, so his scrapbook albums are our middle ground.

That’s not to say that I don’t still embarrass him frequently by smothering him in mom love, but I suppose the albums give me a bit of peace of mind that the things that need saying are being said in one form or another. If there were ever any doubt in his mind that I don’t notice the subtle ways he changes, or the times when he makes wise-beyond-his-years observations about the world around him, or that he’s not unconditionally loved, he need only flip through the pages of any of his scrapbook albums where, page by page, I pour my heart out to him.

The Empty Seat Beside Me

JOURNALING: Let’s face it, you’re not a shopper. I knew this early on, even in your toddler days. There’s a reason you have a huge tub of Hot Wheels cars under your bed – it was how I got you to agree to grocery shop with me very week – without whining about it – from ages 3-6. Four years of weekly shopping trips really added up. Eventually the little cars turned into a weekly allowance, which bought me one trip to Target a week without you rolling your eyes about it – because you wanted to spend your allowance money anyway. But last December, at 10 years old, you decided you would like to start staying home by yourself during my quick trips to run errands. We tried it out one night when I realized I had to run to the store for tomato sauce – a fifteen minute trip, tops! I was frustrated at every single stop sign from our house to the grocery store – and I think I must have looked like a crazed Supermarket Sweep contestant blazing through that store to get tomato sauce. I returned home expecting that you’d hurtle yourself into my arms and tell me that it wasn’t worth it, but instead you barely glanced up from what you were doing – and gave me a little “that was quick!” From that point forward the trips have gotten a little longer, and the lack of reaction when I return home has become more glaringly obvious. Sometimes I call you from the checkout at Target and you almost sound annoyed. I guess this is the end of an era. I won’t lie, it saves us a TON of money, and I no longer feel guilty about dragging you through a women’s clothing store. And it’s nice to spend as much time as I want smelling hand soaps without you rolling your eyes next to me and saying “It’s just SOAP!” But that empty seat beside me in the car is taking some getting used to. I want you to exercise your independence, I really do. And you’re a responsible, capable kid who certainly doesn’t need his mom hovering over him all of the time. But it’s a little bit lonely, this empty seat beside me – and if I act disproportionately excited and jump up and down a little every time you agree to run to the store with me, try to let it slide. I’m working on my independence, too.
♥ 4/2/2011

MATERIALS: Vagabond by One Little Bird (available 4/7), Fonts are Sentinel by Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Pea Devon by