Where Have I Been?
Well, the mysterious Christmas project that ate part of November and all of December was heritage scrapbooks for each of my siblings and their families. You might not think from the sound of it that this should take up so blasted much of my time. Well, neither did I. In fact while it is a project I've been contemplating for many years, it was something I'd been putting off due to lack of time to devote to really doing it right.
Like many people, I have an interest in our family history. Because my father's parents died when he was so young, we got very little information from him about his family and family history. On my mother's side both of her parents were first generation immigrants from Italy. Fortunately, we heard stories about coming over to America from Italy and about their families while growing up.
Over the years I've been collecting bits of information and just sticking it in a folder. A few years ago my mother gave me her childhood scrapbooks she had done of school events and her early years with my Dad. Then in October I was going though some photo albums of family pictures to look for a particular picture for one of my brothers and thought it might be in Mom's scrapbook. While looking through them I got struck with the idea to make heritage scrapbooks for my siblings. My original intention was just to do something fun and only go back to our grandparents' generation.
You know what they say about plans? Life's what happens when you are making plans. While verifying information on family members on a couple of search websites I kept finding more and more information about our ancestors. I ended up with a book going back three generations on both sides. The end result was a 30-page scrapbook for my 7 siblings. Yes, you read that right SEVEN siblings and their families. And, yes it is one of the more cuckoo ideas I've had because of the short time period I had to complete the research, plan the scrapbook, purchase all the materials and then actually do the books.
A few of them I had to get done right away because I had to get them mailed to be received in time for Christmas. I considered chucking the idea more than once and not trying to get them all done by Christmas, but I just couldn't put the idea away.
Of course, during the two months I worked on the project I was filled with doubt and insecurity whether they would like the books or not...I mean not everyone is interested in their ancestory. After a 8 or 10 hour day of cutting and pasting I'd crawl into bed and ask TGILW if he thought they'd like the books. Thankfully the man is as patient and sweet as he is and he kept encouraging and reassuring me.
Even with TGILW's wonderful encouragement it wasn't the same as sharing some of the "finds" with my family members. Thank God my sister Mary came to visit for my niece's graduation in early December. I had her open her scrapbook on December 8th. Selfishly, I wanted to be with her when she opened it and secondly, I was going crazy without someone to talk to about it. Without her those final couple of weeks, I don't know what I would have done. Not only did were we able to discuss the family history, but she scrapbooks so I had a sympathetic ear to moan about the long hours to complete each book.
By the time Christmas arrived I was very anxious and nervous. Just as Mary and TGILW predicted, I had many tearful and wonderful conversations with my brothers and sisters on Christmas day. Everyone was so sweet and appreciative. I'm particularly happy that the information was so appreciated by my nieces and nephews.
I'm not completely done though. There is still some additinal research I'm doing for my own benefit and I'm finishing up two more scrapbooks to give to each of my sons which will bring the grand total to 10, 30-page scrapbooks. But these last two I don't have to get done in a specific time period and while I hope to have them done before the end of January, it will be at a much more leisurely pace.
So project done, holiday travel done, I'm back home and, I can't believe I'm saying this, anxious to get back to some kind of normal routine. I think I've read like two books the past month. Not because I'm in a funk, but either I've been too busy or too tired. I still bought books though. The TBR looks positively dangerous!