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“Mary, Mary, quite contrary.  How does your garden grow?”  What does that mean?  I’d like to know.  Because.  My name is Mary.  I’m probably quite contrary.  But does that mean that I will never learn to garden?  Or does that mean that I could grow silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids in a row?  I don’t even know what those are.  So, I looked it up.  YIKES!  This children’s rhyme is referring to Bloody Mary as in Henry VIII’s daughter.  The garden is referring to a graveyard for Protestants.  The silver bells and cockle shells refer to instruments of torture, and the “maids” refer to the original guillotine.  Ummmmm…..I just wanted to talk about my gardening skills, or lack thereof.

The only part of that whole thing I can relate to is the garden being a graveyard…..not for Protestant martyrs, but for all the sad remains of my once living plants.  I think I need gardening boot camp….you know like that show Worst Cooks in America on Food Network where they bring in the worst cooks they can find based on auditions and interviews.  Then they put them through a 5-6 week boot camp; and by the end, the two remaining contestants vying for the title of Worst Cook in America and $25,000 are cooking gourmet meals you would find in fancy restaurants at high prices for food critics to judge.  That’s what I need.  I need HGTV to do a Worst Gardner in America Show….and the $25,000 at the end could pay for all my previous gardening mishaps.

Here’s the thing.  When I find a yummy recipe to make for my family, I make a list of ingredients and head to the local grocery store.  I do know how to cook; but when I get to the store, I’m faced with the conundrum of buying harvested fresh herbs or buying a plant of the same variety for the same price which could yield said herbs for many more meals.  Of course, with my frugal thinking, I buy the plant.  Nevermind that I have only, to-date, kept this one basil plant alive….in my bathroom.  My bathroom is the only room in my house with enough sunlight to keep a plant alive.  It’s not pretty, and it’s not hardy; but it’s alive, and often when I’m cooking and a child is telling me a very long story because that’s what they do, I say, “Follow me….I need to get some bathroom basil.”  I feel so gardeny and earthy when I sit on the side of my bathtub to harvest fresh herbs for our nutrituions, delicious meal.

photo 13

So, what happens is I buy the plants, bring them home, forget about them, wake up one morning to the poor thing limply hanging on by sheer will.  Then, I rush to rescue the poor thing by pouring way too much water on it, and end up killing it by accidental drowning.  How this basil plant has survived this long is beyond me because I still follow this same watering pattern with it.

Yesterday I asked my husband to rescue my latest victim, a mint plant.  Then I forgot, and it looked much worse this morning.  So I asked him to do it before work because surely it would not survive the day.  Why didn’t I do it?  Well, I’m not entirely sure how, and the poor plant has already suffered enough.  It doesn’t need me to add insult to injury as I try to transplant it.  It just wouldn’t be a fair to the plant.  But that’s not all.  To be totally honest….I really don’t like getting dirty.  I do have some pretty gardening gloves, and I like the way they look.  I like the way they look clean.  I don’t want to get them dirty either.  As I was realizing this new insight, I said, “You know, I think I’m the kind of gardener who likes to tell you what to do, and then have you do the work.”  Yeah.  That’s my kind of gardening.

So.  With all this said, I’m a little concerned about the outside garden.  It doesn’t just have dirt.  It has bugs and humidity and I saw a squirrel in it the other day.  UGH!  I’m not sure I can handle it.  I also tend to be a fair weather gardner.  For instance, the wind was blowing A LOT yesterday.  So, I skipped watering.  But, it turns out it doesn’t matter because when I went out to water today, it was clear I had already smothered most of the hedge shrubs with too much love (water).  Of the 20 shrubs we planted, I think there are about nine that still resemble living plants (and that’s being generous).  Most of them are hanging on by only a few green specs.  I’m not sure about the trees.  The Aspens look good, which surprises me. They are a Colorado tree.  The humidity here is going to kill them if I don’t do it first.  The evergreens are showing some yellow, but still have more green than yellow.  And I really can’t tell anything with the lilac or blueberry bush yet.  I may just be watering dead sticks every day.  Then there’s the onions and potatoes.  I’d say they’ve got a 50/50 chance still.

I’m beginning to think this Mary is quite contrary to gardening.  Maybe I should move to condo somewhere with no yard responsibilities, no garden, and a plethora of farmer’s markets to shop.

Does anyone teach cursive handwriting anymore?  Or is it considered a thing of the past?   Until recently, I was unaware of the great penmanship debate, so I didn’t think twice about teaching my children cursive handwriting.  My first clue that cursive was not widely taught anymore came a few years ago when my second oldest filled out a form for his basketball coach.  When he turned it in, his coach said, “Hmmm.  I didn’t know anyone still wrote in cursive.”  Needless to say, none of my son’s teammates could even read what he had written.  They had never been taught cursive……to read it or write it.

Had I known that cursive was on it’s way out when I first began homeschooling, I may have chosen to not teach it to them.  But, I’m really glad I did.  With all my children, I initially taught manuscript writing.  When I was buying second grade handwriting books, I had the choice to buy manuscript or cursive.  I decided to buy both because I felt they needed the extra reinforcement and practice with manuscript practice.  I should say that most of them needed the practice.  One did not….my fifth son.  He has the most beautiful handwriting I have ever seen.  Often, when I would look at his practice sheets, I couldn’t tell the difference between his writing and the book’s examples.  He learned and perfected cursive in the same way.  He was one child who didn’t need to bother with practicing handwriting beyond initially learning the letters.  But, of course, I bought the books, so I made him do them…..much to his disappointment.  He would try to argue his case that he didn’t need to learn or practice more handwriting.  And while he was absolutely correct that he didn’t need further practice, I would simply say what I always say to them when I’m done discussing their laments….I tell them, “Say, thank you, Mommy, may I have another?”  Every time I say this, they obediently repeat, “Thank you, Mommy, may I have another?” They somehow know at this point, the discussion is over, and they go on…..in this case, he would hang his head, turn around and go do another page of handwriting.  I know….I’m cruel.

But, finally getting to the cursive handwriting book for all my children seemed to be like finally reaching some elusive dream.  When they entered second grade, they knew cursive was just a matter of time, and they worked extra hard to get through the manuscript book so they could finally learn cursive.  It was as though they were learning a new language or a secret language.  They were finally learning how to write like a grown up.  Even my children with the most sloppy handwriting would try to write a little more neatly just to prove they were ready for cursive.   My daughter is one such child.  It almost drives me crazy how she won’t hold the pencil correctly, and she rushes through the manuscript writing so quickly that I almost cannot decipher her words.  I have learned to try to not nitpick about it because I’ve learned to pick my battles carefully.  Handwriting is not something I feel I need to get too hung up on.  There’s way too much to accomplish and only so much time in a day.  I have other fish to fry….more subjects to get to….more gifts to discover.  I used to make the more sloppy handwriters practice and practice and practice.  Sometimes I would see glimmers of neatness, but those sightings are far and few between.  Now I try to praise them when I see the neatness, but not to dwell on the sloppiness.

But, the neatness has always surfaced as they neared the beginning of learning cursive.  My daughter recently worked through extra sheets of manuscript so she could begin her cursive writing career.  She was beside herself with excitement to finally be learning this fancy way of writing.  Here she is on her first page of cursive a few weeks ago:

3:17:14

She has learned about seven or eight lower case letters, and has been trying very hard to be neat so she can move on and write in cursive all the time.  After teaching them cursive, I usually require them to write everything in cursive for a year, and then let them decide if they would like to use manuscript or cursive when they write.  So far two have chosen cursive, and three have chosen manuscript writing.  My daughter cannot wait to write everything in cursive.  Earlier today when I asked her to write her first and middle name on the top of a worksheet while I was helping a brother with something, she came to me beaming with pride to show me her name in “cursive”.   Her name is Jeanae Pauline.  This is what she wrote:

04:16:14

Her smile, her pride, her handwriting…..all priceless….I love my job!

What is the deal with fourth grade?  I feel like I have been stuck in perpetual fourth grade for about 10 years now.  In fact, I know I have.  I only have six kids, and one isn’t even old enough for fourth grade yet; so I know this isn’t adding up correctly.  Something’s not right here.  For a long time, I wondered if it was just me.  Was I doing something so horribly wrong with their homeschooling that fourth grade was too insurmountable for them?  But then, I started hearing how some kids in public school also have a tough time with fourth grade.  I remember hearing something about it being a tough transition year for a lot of kids.  While this made me feel better about my own gaggle of fourth graders, I still wonder what the deal is?

I’m not sure how it works in public school (or private schools for that matter) these days.  All I remember is that fourth grade was a particularly confusing year for me when I was that age.  I always figured it was because the little parochial school I attended went through at least four fourth grade teachers during my fourth grade year.   I can’t remember all the specifics, but I do remember it was total mayhem, and very little learning took place in that fourth grade classroom.  For my children, fourth grade is the year that they begin to do most of their schoolwork independently.  This, I believe, is a contributing factor to why my boys have lost ground during fourth grade.  Learning to work independently, coping with distractions (big and small), learning styles, dyslexia, autism, perfectionism, procrastination, and laziness are all contributing factors as to why some of my boys have lingered longer in fourth grade.

Learning to work independently, in my opinion, is critical to their learning process.  It is at this time that they begin to figure out how to learn, if they haven’t already begun the process.  They begin to use more logic; and rather than being spoon fed information, they learn the material themselves.  They learn to figure things out rather than being told everything.  And, even though I believe learning to work independently is necessary for their educational growth, I’m finding that some of them need me to hold their hands for just a little longer.  Two of my boys have thrived with this independent learning.  These two are natural born leaders with a great deal of self-discipline and high aptitudes for learning.  They flourished while working independently and could have been ready to do so even earlier than fourth grade.  The others, however, seem to need more guidance….at least in the less than appealing subjects, which would be most of the subjects.  These are the boys who have made sure I have gotten my money’s worth with the Saxon 54 math book.  So, at least there’s that.

What I have always done with my boys since the beginning of homeschooling is work side-by-side with them from kindergarten throughout third grade.  I didn’t and couldn’t be by their sides at all times….heavens no….I was busy with babies and feedings and diapers and other siblings.  But, for the most part, I would spend much time working through school with them in those early years.  Once they reached fourth grade, I would give them their books, assignments, instructions, and told them to check in with me with questions.  I still graded their work in the evenings so I could make sure they were on track, understanding their lessons, and moving forward with their learning.  But, time-after-time, I would see a fourth grade boy sitting at the kitchen table for hours just staring into space, doodling, or really having no expression except complete boredom.  And, when they would turn their work in, it was completely, if not almost all, wrong.  And, so each day they would get further and further behind.   However, when I would sit with them to go over the material, they could and would rattle off answers without ever putting pencil to paper.  It wasn’t that they couldn’t do the work….they just weren’t motivated to work independently yet.

In fact, my current fourth/fifth grader actually cried when he found out I would no longer be “doing math” with him.  Math is one subject I sit down to teach for however long it takes during those first three years, and I make it fun for them.  I get all animated, say random quotes, sing songs, and make silly faces when they mess up their counting.  Then they giggle that adorable gut giggle that only little kids can pull off, and they remember the next time how they made that mistake and it made them laugh.  He was sad because he was going to miss that (even though he gets to hear me with his sister every day).  He wasn’t ready to give that up.  As a result, he has been moving ever so slowly through is studies.

There is a part of me that feels as though I have failed them when they don’t keep up with the same pace which I know public school children are working….when it takes them more time to work through fourth grade.  On the other hand, there is a part of me that knows now….after struggling through the years with some of them….that they are more than capable.   They may not know everything, but they do know how to think and learn to figure out whatever they need to.  I know they will all end up being smarter than a fourth grader.

 

School was always pretty easy for me.  Learning came natural, math seemed to be inherent, and I never really struggled with any subject.  I did, however, have siblings or friends who struggled; but I never really understood why.  Even with school being so effortless for me, I never gave much thought to why anyone struggled with school…. never gave much thought to anything really.  I just was.

Later in life I began hearing the word “dyslexia” from time-to-time.  Being curious, I learned enough to know it was something that made it hard for people to spell and/or read.  I had heard some people from my generation talk about having dyslexia and wish there had been more known about it during their education years so school wouldn’t have been such a struggle.    At the same time, I would witness others from the previous generation ignore and deny the word “dyslexia” as though it were a bad word or a forbidden topic.  The word “dyslexia” seemed to have negative connotations suggesting they might be responsible for this dreadful thing….or that it might mean something was wrong with their offspring.  I thought this odd, but still had no reason to learn more about this word, this “disability”.

It wasn’t until years later when I had begun homeschooling my own children and saw some struggles that I became curious enough to research dyslexia.  It wasn’t until then that I learned that dyslexia is not a disability, but rather a gift to be handled with care.  At first, what I understood was that children transpose letters and numbers.  I also understood that this was normal for most children, and hoped what I was seeing with my own children would be outgrown.  With some, it was.  With others, not so much.  I continued to wait and hope and pray…to no avail.  With one son, it became apparent that I would need to find a way to help him.  First I needed to understand what I was dealing with.  I wasn’t even sure if dyslexia was his issue, but I had a hunch that it was since so many members from one side of the family had already either been diagnosed with it or had accepted that this was indeed the cause to such scholastic misery in their lives.  So, I did what I always do.  I headed to the library and the internet.  I devoured as much information as I could on the subject.

One book, in particular, was most helpful.  The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis not only gave me testimonials, information, and techniques to implement….but it taught me that dyslexia is not a disability, but rather it is a “gift”.  I had never thought of it in that way, but this one word stood out to me.  It helped me help my son in a positive way.  After doing my research and feeling confident in my abilities to help my son, I spent time with him explaining what I had discovered.  I told him that he had a gift.  He took that to heart.  He walked around proudly announcing to everyone that he had “the gift of dyslexia”.  There was no shame; he was proud that he had this special gift.  He listened, he learned; and I think it did help.  But what I was trying to do at the time was help him focus more, to be able to learn the way that I wanted to teach him, to “fix” the way his brain processed information. And, the author does offer ways to help children so they can function in school without feeling like academic failures and to succeed in the ways acceptable to society.

However, I realize now that rather than trying to get his study habits, assignments, and quality of work to change; I should have been allowing him to explore his natural abilities and talents.  He did learn to try to focus more.   But, dyslexia doesn’t just go away, and I’ve learned with him and other siblings that they can learn to focus….they may even learn to get the letters straight in their brains when reading.  But, what I really needed to learn and focus on is allowing them to use their unique abilities….let their gifts be opened.   That lesson took me a while to learn.  What I realized is that they have this gift, but depending on how they learn to use it makes a huge difference in how their gift unfolds in life.

Anther thing I have learned is that they still have to function in this world, which means they need to learn to focus on trying to read and write correctly.  To me, it’s a fine line.  It is something they have to be aware of constantly so they can focus when they need to focus, but they don’t want to suppress it or let go of it because the certain mental functions and abilities that come with dyslexia which they possess are their gift.  The gift is not the same for everyone.  Sometimes the gift results in genius, but not always.  According to the book The Gift of Dyslexia, “Eight basic abilities, if not suppressed, invalidated or destroyed by parents or the educational process, will result in two characteristics: higher than normal intelligence, and extraordinary creative abilities. From these the true gift of dyslexia can emerge — the gift of mastery.”   “…..The gift of mastery develops in many ways and in many areas. For Albert Einstein it was physics; for Walt Disney, it was art; for Greg Louganis, it was athletic prowess.”

Here are the basic abilities all dyslexics share:

  1. They can utilize the brain’s ability to alter and create perceptions (the primary ability).
  2. They are highly aware of the environment.
  3. They are more curious than average.
  4. They think mainly in pictures instead of words.
  5. They are highly intuitive and insightful.
  6. They think and perceive multi-dimensionally (using all the senses).
  7. They can experience thought as reality.
  8. They have vivid imaginations.

Read more: http://www.dyslexia.com/library/gift-chapter-one.htm#ixzz2yvF2zJK3

 

Having done my research, and learning more on the subject of dyslexia helps me keep my focus when I’m trying to teach these children with dyslexia.  I’m reminded daily about transposing of letters and numbers.  I’m reminded about the struggles with reading and spelling….focusing and orientation points.  I heard one nephew refers to his dyslexia as “sexilady”.  It makes me laugh every time I think about it.  But it also reminds me that when I’m getting frustrated with my littles,  they may be seeing words or numbers entirely different than what is actually on the page.  This all takes time and patience to work through….not as long as it took me to realize that they need some time and space to open their gifts by nurturing their unique talents and abilities.  But, together, we are figuring it out.

 

Is it Easter egg hunting day?  Ooooh, I forgot.  Shhhhhh.  Don’t tell my little ones for they have never participated in those giant city-wide Easter egg hunts.  I don’t think they even know about them.  I know, I know…this could be a perfect opportunity to offer them some socialization.  I know.  But, you see…..I’ve been there, done that.

We did the whole egg hunt thing when my big boys were little.  Every year it was the same thing.  We sought out the most convenient of Egg hunts, and anticipated the day with excitement and high hopes for creating the most wonderful childhood memories for our little boys.  At first, the boys were most likely too young to know where we were going or understand what we were doing.  But, we assured them it was exciting and fun.  They believed us.  And after a while, they caught on, and played the game, too.  I have a hunch that they didn’t always enjoy it though.  Knowing what I know now….crowds and noise overwhelmed some of them.  Each year it was a flurry of energy getting everyone fed, dressed, pottied or diaper changed, and buckled into car seats before we grabbed the Easter baskets and rolled out of the driveway on our way to allow our children to experience the joy and ecstasy of the annual Easter egg hunt.

The location was not always the same, but the story was.  We would arrive at the venue, find parking a mile away, and then rush through crowds of people to arrive at an even bigger crowd of people in hopes of not missing the beginning of the prized event.  There were always swarms of people laughing, crying, whining, scolding, running, waiting, searching, and finding.  People everywhere.  Children clung to parents, and parents dragged them along trying to find someone in charge who could direct them to the starting line.  Eventually, parents would learn the rules:  children were divided into ages, parents could only run with the youngest ages, three eggs per child, etc.  Then there was more standing around and waiting, children needing to go potty, parents taking photos, and other parents coaching their offspring on how to obtain the largest number of eggs.

Eventually, the time would come to begin the great egg hunt.  Children, armed with baskets and bags, were eager to run into the egg-speckled grass area….the prize was right in front of them.  All they had to do was run and pick up all those eggs.  After the “Ready, set, go!”, children ran; some parents ran alongside them even though they weren’t supposed to.  The initial laughter and hope was soon replaced with falling down, stolen eggs, and tears.  Often there was bewilderment, confusion, and concern.  Always, there were one or two children, smiling ear-to-ear, with baskets filled to the brim with bright, colorful eggs.  Most children came back content with a handful of eggs.  But, there were always those children who were unable to secure just one egg….or maybe they acquired a meager one or two eggs.  The disappointment quickly opened the floodgate of tears, and another egg hunt was in the books.  Every. Single. Year.  This is how it went.  Sometimes my kids were the ones with only one or two eggs and huge crocodile tears.  Other times, they faired okay.  Either way, I always walked away wondering if it was really worth it.

I would have kept going to these egg hunts year after year with all my kiddos had we not moved to the mountains just a month before my daughter was born and my fifth son was only three.  Spring in the mountains could mean warmth and sunshine or it could mean a foot of snow.  With a two month old and cooler weather that first year we were there, I opted out of finding an egg hunt for the first time since having children of egg hunting age.  And, you know what?  I liked it.  There was no rushing around in the morning.  There was no stress to get somewhere only to leave with disappointed children.  I liked it so much that I never went to an egg hunt again.  They never asked to go because didn’t know what they were missing.  The older boys never asked because they knew what they were missing.  But, there was a part of me that felt like the little ones were being robbed of this egg hunting childhood memory.  So, of course, I went overboard and filled way too many eggs, set them out on Easter in the yard or the house (if it was too cold) and let them have their own hunt.  I still do this today, and each child ends up with an abundant basket every single year.  It’s all they know.  They get chocolate…a lot of it….I eat most of it….It’s all is good.

I am having a really off day.  We realized we started the Resurrection Eggs a day too early, I have no idea what’s for dinner, and I found a tick on my body this morning.  A tick.  I almost can’t deal with a tick.  I’ve been bracing for humidity, but ticks could be a real deal breaker on this whole gardening thing.  I’ve never had a tick before because where I lived in Colorado the only bugs we had were lady bugs and butterflies.  It was utopia!  For the past two years since moving to Kansas I have managed to stay tick-free because the extent of my outdoor time was spent on the screened-in deck.   But, this year…..this year I’ve got this whole gardening/landscaping homeschool project going on.  Now what?  I think one more tick, and this gardening quest will be put to rest.

And the day I find a tick also happens to be potato-planting day….wouldn’t you know it.  Turns out that three weeks is actually up today (not last Saturday like I thought), so I’m right on schedule with the potatoes….unless, of course, I counted that wrong, too.  Probably did.  So, anyway, I threw caution to the wind and risked another possible tick attack to help my daughter plant her potatoes.

First, I read steps 3, 4 and 5 in my Step-by-Step Gardening Techniques book about six times trying to make sure I understood the planting process.  I didn’t want to take the book all the way down to the garden site.  Have I mentioned the garden site is in the farthest corner of our property away from our house?  This is the spot with the most sun exposure, not necessarily my first choice for a garden.  Anyway, I read the steps.  Step 3:  Prepare A Furrow.  Okay.  Basically, from this I understood I was supposed to take a hoe and carve down about three to four inches in a straight line.  I guessed the depth, and the dirt was already a compost mix with manure, so I didn’t enrich the furrow with an inch or two of compost like the book said.  But, now, as I type this….I wonder if I should have only gone down about an inch or two to plant the potatoes because if I added an inch or two of compost, the furrow would not be three to four inches deep anymore.  Hmmm……well, it’s too late now.  We then went on to Step 4:  Planting.  The book said to place the potatoes cut-side down firmly into the soil about 10 to 12 inches apart.  We guessed on distance and squeezed them in so I wouldn’t have to do a partial row of potatoes.  Then we raked the dirt back over the potatoes, and watered them.  Then it said to mark the row.  At first, I figured I would just remember, but then I remembered that I keep forgetting things and counting wrong and deleting photos and things like that.  So, we put a stick at each end and called it “marked”.

Step 5:  Hilling UP confuses me.  Go figure.  From what I gather, I’m supposed to pile dirt up and make a hill on the potatoes.  But, the last words of the last sentence say to leave four or five inches of stem and leaf uncovered.  And the illustrated picture shows the root system underground with leaves above ground and a hoe being pulled toward the plant.  So, I’m guessing this step is done when/if the plant grows a stem and some leaves.  I feel the probability of that happening is low, but stay tuned….you never know.  Miracles do happen!

4:11:14

Today, for the first time in months, I revisited the Drobo….the mother of all storage units for anything data, including family photos.  Don’t ask me what a Drobo is….all I know is that several years ago our family acquired this Drobo thing so we could transfer our four hard drives full of thousands of photos (most of which I have never seen) to it.  This Drobo thing was supposed to protect all our digital memories and solve all our photo organization woes.  During my more perfectionistic days, I kept up with photos in my own way.  Those photos were arranged in chronological order and stored in photo boxes….where they remain to this day….untouched….waiting to be viewed some day.  Those were also the days before digital cameras when taking a photo required more thought and calculation because I had to pay to develop the film.  Therefore, instead of thousands of pictures in boxes, I only have hundreds.

Around the year 2000 we got our first digital camera.  I am usually not a big fan of change; but with four little boys to care for, I was more than willing to trust the digital process.  I trusted the photos would be safe knowing someone was taking pictures, loading them onto a computer, transferring them later to a hard drive, and that I would eventually get to them “some day”.   What I wasn’t counting on was that more times than not, the digital camera dates would be way off, and that the hard drives would fill up before I could get to them.  I’m not entirely sure what capacity a hard drive has or doesn’t have; but at some point it was announced they were full, and a Drobo must be purchased to save all our photos.  Thus, the Drobo was purchased.  However, we didn’t get around to transferring photos right away.  A few years later (after two moves) we found the Drobo while unpacking, and all the photos from the hard drives were magically transferred to it.  It took about three days, but it was done.   And, finally, about three years after I had become aware of this little black box known as the Drobo, I finally decided I had reached a point in my life where I could devote my evenings to organizing photos.  I would finally get those pictures organized, and then I would scan all those boxed pictures from the pre-digital era so that all our photos would be cataloged, organized, and accessible.  I would finally be able to show my kids a baby picture or two….maybe even make some baby books.  And, we would all live happily ever after.

Except.

It didn’t work out that way.  As I was steadily working my way through the multitude of photos and enjoying seeing my babies as babies again and reliving memories I had long forgotten, I abruptly stopped the process as I suddenly realized that I might be doing the unthinkable.  I realized I had actually been deleting photos as I sorted them into folders.  It still makes me a little sick to think about it.  The whole thing is still quite a blur in my brain as to what I was doing.  The best way to explain it is that as I was sorting pictures into separate folders within the Drobo (folders created in years…in order, of course), I would get a question something like, “Are you sure you want to copy?”  Yes, yes, I did want to copy.  I was sure of it.  It wasn’t until thousands of pictures had been gone through that I wondered if when I copied them, was I actually copying over others which I had previously placed in that folder?  I cautiously checked the most recent copy….doing my best to be brave and look, but almost hiding my eyes from seeing what I feared would be the outcome.  The outcome was a sunken feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I was sick.  Literally.  I got up, walked away from the computer, confessed my actions to anyone who would listen, and I never went back to the Drobo again….until today.

Why today?  I was looking for a particular picture I remember from a few years ago.  But, after hours of waiting for the Drobo to load….it is incredibly slow when trying to load over 50,000 photos….I couldn’t find it.  I haven’t given up, and I may be considering trying to attempt to organize photos again.  Maybe.  It really is ridiculous that I can’t find a single photo.  I can find a plethora of random, useless, meaningless photos taken of silly things like a piece of paper or string or a can or something like that.  I can’t begin to express how frustrating that is.  But, trying to find a picture I actually remember that has meaning and value…..that might take an act of Congress to accomplish.  The picture I want could be one of the many that were deleted.  However, I’ve been told that if I download all the hard drives again into the Drobo that I will have all the photos because the hard drives were never deleted. Still, I have my doubts because not all pictures came from the hard drives.  Some came from my computer, some from my son’s, and some from my other son’s.  I won’t really ever know unless and until I begin this daunting task once again.   It exhausts me thinking about how I have lost so many photos or lost the ability to print them….that’s another thing I learned I did, but I’m too weary to explain.  I may never see some of those photos again, and that makes me incredibly sad.

But.

At least I did get to see those photos once.  I saw them right before I unknowingly deleted them.  There’s a little comfort in that.  And, I got to see many photos today while searching….being very careful to delete nothing.  What struck me today was how much my children have grown up in just the last few years…..and how the years all seem to flow together.  I found pictures that seemed like they were taken just yesterday….the memories are so sharp and clear, but then I see one of my baby-faced boys smiling in the photo and know that they are no longer those little boys.  They have grown into strapping young, handsome men.  Those Old Spice commercials are right.  Moms, don’t buy your boys Old Spice….it makes a man out of them…and then moms are just sad because their little boys grow up too fast.  And, this mom is already sad because she deleted all the photos of them growing up.

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