letting it go
Part of cultivating a good life is being okay when things don’t go as planned.
We all know that life is made up of so many variables – mostly the unpredictable variety. We often don’t know what’s coming our way, but I definitely find that I can still be just fine even when the curveballs are thrown in my direction. I’m not getting deep today. I’m not even going to talk about the really difficult stuff in life.
Today I wanted to share something “lighter” – but it’s a real-life, it-is-what-it-is situation of how I’ve needed to roll with the punches lately. Many of you know that every year since our oldest was in preschool, I’ve done what I call a “Personal Yearbook” project with each of our children and all of their classmates.
Thinking back to how this all started … Porter was in preschool. This was before David and I started our company. He was our only school-aged child. And it was preschool. Okay – fast forward to this school year. All three kids in school. And Porter had two teachers in his 5th grade year. How could I not do this for both classes, right? So at the beginning of the school year, I did what I normally do. I introduced myself to the new teachers, explained the concept of what I was offering to do* and they were each really supportive of me carrying out this project for their respective classes.
*The “concept” is that each month, I pop into the classroom, snap a picture of each child, then come back later in the month and actually guide the students through completing a “layout of the month” that includes that snapshot which I had printed, a handwriting sample … that sort of thing. Pretty simple. In fact, I was more than excited to use the actual Personal Yearbook Project Life® designs this year – finally! We had Liz Tamanaha design the collection based on this tradition I have enjoyed for several years – and she nailed it. Such fun designs!
And then … life happened.
I was able to pop into each of the four classrooms each month, but I was having a really difficult time making it to the point of printing out all the photos and coming back to the four classrooms to work with the kids on their pages. So month after month (and missing a month or two of taking pictures even!) I found myself behind. And then even more behind. Halfway through the year, I kept thinking of ways that I could play catch-up with the kids. I kept thinking there’s got to be a way I can still pull this off – never mind my full-time work schedule and other commitments, right? *sigh*
And then out of nowhere … it was MAY. May is the end of the school year! It’s right now. In fact, for us it’s this week.
So you know what I did?
I let it go. I let go of the idea that I was going to be Supermom in my kids’ classrooms this year. I let go of the idea that I would be able to send all 86 of those kids home with completed Personal Yearbooks that I just knew the parents would love. I put into practice what I find myself preaching to others which is … no one does it all. Don’t try to do it all. No one expects you to do it all. And you know what? The parents of those 86 kids? They didn’t even know I was doing the project in the first place.
So this is how it went down. I printed off all of those photos. PersnicketyPrints.com totally pulled through for me (as they always do) and the photos not only showed up in my mailbox quickly, but the quality is so good. Then my kids went through the pictures with me yesterday and we made a little pile for every single student. Yes – all 86 of them between the four classes and yes, this (relatively quick) project took over our home office for a couple hours! I placed each little stack of photos in a little sandwich bag along with a note that I whipped up in Photoshop and printed as a photo at the same time I printed all of the actual photos.
This was the note that was in each little bag.
ADDED NOTE (day after this post went live)
After reading and internalizing feedback from some of you (I’m particularly grateful for those of you who exude kindness) – I realized that my note could come across as more of a marketing effort. Even though that was not my intention, I do see where some people are coming from with the opinion that it was unnecessary and I felt really bad about it all.
The last thing I would want is for others to misinterpret my genuine desire to share. So … I made the decision to just pull those notes out of each child’s little bag of pictures altogether. They’re in the school’s trashcans. Everyone is receiving a bag of pictures – and that’s it. That’s all I was trying to do in the first place — serve and share. My last-minute thought to add the line about Project Life (during a pretty stressful weekend, which is probably why I didn’t give it too much thought) turned out to be interpreted differently than I meant it to be.
As for sharing the note about Persnickety Prints, anyone who follows me on social media knows that I am always happy to share favorite resources with no motives. There’s no kick-back from PP. I don’t make a dime off of any prints made there. I simply appreciate their quality and customer service and am happy to share that with others who may be looking for a good printing service.
PS – I’m human. I make mistakes. And I really do feel better about pulling my note out of those bags. Those parents don’t need to know where the pictures came from. They just need to enjoy those memories with their child. That’s what it’s always about.
Eighty-six sets of parents will get these photos today, enjoy seeing their precious child at school – on the playground, at lunch, doing a science experiment, holding their latest project, working at their desk … you get the idea. But then I also know that most of those parents will then wonder where to put the photos. In a drawer? A box?
So naturally, what ended up happening with my “letting it go” philosophy is I hope to inspire those parents to work with their child to do their own scrapbooking. I want them to know that there is a way to scrapbook that’s NOT time-consuming, NOT complicated, NOT overwhelming. So of course I mentioned Project Life. Even if just a couple more people know about it from my little effort to share nice pictures, then great.
Today I’m feeling a bit of a burden lifted from my shoulders. I’m grateful I finally got to the point of letting something go. Removing something from my plate. And still being able to share a small gift with 86 very special young people. I just hope those photos end up in a safe place where they can be enjoyed over & over again.
Now I’m going to look at other things that I need to let go of in my life.