Dear 5th grade yearbook editor,
I hate you. I know this might sound a bit harsh coming from a person you’ve never met, but perhaps once you’ve read my letter, you’ll come to understand why I think you’re the devil incarnate.
Let me start by saying that I remembered to send in the money to pay for my son’s elementary school yearbook – ON TIME I might add. And let me tell you, as disorganized as I am, that was no easy feat. But now (weeks later) you’ve requested that we also send in wallet-size copies of our kid’s 1st and 5th grade school pictures for some sort of then-and-now yearbook retrospective.
I reiterate, I hate you.
I know the people in your world put their pictures into albums, and there’s probably a fair amount of scrapbooking going on, but in my world, pictures get stuffed into drawers, boxes, cabinets, and closets. They become like Kodak paper caulk, filling in all the little nooks and crannies of those dark, forgotten places. So, asking me to find two specific pictures means sending me on a long expedition through those parts of my house that I would much rather avoid.
I’ve got a reasonable chance of finding the picture taken this school year, but the one from FOUR years ago? You might as well blindfold me, drop me in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, and send me on a quest to find a poison dart frog. Actually, that would be easier – at least I’m sure the poison dart frog exists; I can’t say the same for my son’s 1st grade school photo.
The way I see it, you gave me two crappy options to chose from: I could either look for the pictures and risk being crushed to death by an avalanche of disorganized photos, or I could forget the whole thing and choke on my own maternal guilt. At least if I chose the former option, my son would know I died a hero.
So I opened the first closet door….
After an exhaustive search, my findings only served to reinforce my reasons for wanting to steer clear of these confusing crevices. I felt as though I fell down a rabbit hole, and into a world where nothing makes any sense. For example, I had an easier time finding my high school field hockey picture from 25-years ago, than my son’s current school photo:
I also found at least twenty pictures of my dog, Lady, who died almost two decades ago, but not a single wallet-size photo of my son in first grade:
My crazy trip to blunderland also unearthed an 8×10 photo of this from the depths of my closet:
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being reminded of the fact that I’m married to a man who not only photographs creepy bugs, but also feels compelled to enlarge them like they’re family portraits. For obvious reasons, my brain made the executive decision long ago to forget about this adorable quirk of his, but due to your little treasure hunt, it’s once again staring at me in the face – with all five of its beady bug eyes.
I wish I could tell you that after hours of sweating and sifting through these bittersweet remnants of my past, I achieved my goal of finding the lost pictures; but that’s the kind of fairytale ending only organized people get to have. My ending includes a cold six-pack, and a debate over whether or not to venture back into the bewildering abyss tomorrow.
But before I crack open my first beer, I’d like to thank you for wasting the better part of my day on a fruitless search to find a picture I probably didn’t even get around to sending to his grandmother. And another word of thanks for making me feel like the world’s crappiest mother because I managed to hang onto Jeff Goldblum’s after-photo, but not my own son’s school portraits.
Maybe someday when my kids are all grown up and I’m looking for a new hobby, I’ll break out some pinking shears and create a collage of perfect memories. But until then, here’s my scrapbook, bitch….