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A picture is worth a thousand words, but you have to be able to find it first

During the kid's senior year, there comes the time that  if we're being honest  most moms dread. I'm talking about Senior Yearbook Ad time.

That's just a ton of fun, said No One.

No good can come from walking back down that road. With the goal being to tell a story with photos from over the course of the child's life, it is a daunting task. Most of us simply aren't that organized. Gone is the day you can pull out the old album and pick your favorites. Now you have to find them on the computer, and heaven forbid if you've had computer trouble along the way ... and, I ask, who hasn't?

Sure, I've tried to keep up. Luckily the other kid kind of prepared me that I'd have to do the same for this one, too. A couple of years ago I went through the MOUNTAIN of baby pics. That was back in the day when we used film (look it up, kids) and for whatever reason I always got doubles printed. I sorted. Chronologically, alone, with family, with friends, I color-coded boxes and labeled and stacked.

What happens? At the beginning of the school year the kid needs a baby pic and destroys my whole system. Solo pics are mixed in with sister pics, friends' pics get taken and never returned. It's enough to drive me to drink. A vanilla milkshake.

I dusted off my external hard drive and tried to make sense out of the picture files there. Some are labeled, some are simply by date. Try remembering what year and month that dance competition was where you got that great shot of her doing a C-jump. Or that sweet pic of her with her face all scabbed up after she swam into the wall of the pool. Twice. What day and year was that, again?

Who knows. It is a full-time job keeping up with all the memories while consecutively living in the moment and planning for the future.

Then there's the sentiment, and the pressure to express all your love and joy in a few short words. Three years ago, for my oldest girl, I attempted a poem. I let her read it, and she very carefully steered me away from the poem and back into the realm of something far less mortifying.

But it's all done now, and that's a load off my mind. The teacher did a great job putting it together and effectively did tell a story with the ad. There's her at age 2, on the toilet in her red cowboy boots (or is that her sister? Shhh. Don't know and don't tell). There is her at various pivotal moments in her life as she careens forward and crashes into the present, ready to bust out into the real world and set it on fire.

As hard as it is to hang on for this ride, I am glad to be here to witness the beautiful sight of this kid becoming an adult. Just a few short months till she leaves us behind.

Meanwhile, I will continue to butter her toast and do her laundry, keeping one toe back in the past for just a little while longer.

The Lawton Constitution

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