Unless I’m missing something | Living with Gleigh

I’ve dealt with a lot of stress this weekend; I worked on my oldest daughter’s baby book. Yeah, she’s nineteen; I’m a bit behind with this task. I meant to get it done the year she graduated from high school.

Here it is a year later. Now, because I don’t want to invest in more bins, I have to empty the bins I currently house the pieces of her baby album in so she can take them to college. So yes, I have all the pieces organized in one place, but the baby book has not been finished.

It’s kind of like the book I’ve been writing. It’s a collection of my columns and blogs that fit a particular theme. It’s technically already written, I just have to pull it all together. But for some reason, the action of gathering that writing, as in gathering the pieces of the album causes me a lot of anxiety.

As I was working on my daughter’s album I felt like a boxer who breaks from the center ring to get a drink, shake the punches off, and get the forehead wiped before heading back into the ring to fight.

The obvious reason for my angst would be that I’m creating a baby album for my NINETEEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. Can I really be old enough to be sending my daughter off for her first year of college? Can she really be old enough to be going off to her first year of college?

But I think the bigger issue at hand is that I feel like I’m missing something for the album. I’m not sure why I would be, because the pieces are collected into bins, the pictures are filed in boxes, there is nothing else to sort or go through.

Then again where are those pictures of her baby shower? Why do I have them in our family albums, but no copies to put in my daughter’s baby album? Where is that lock of hair I’m sure I saved from her first haircut and did I take a picture of that day?

Maybe my unease is simply because I don’t have a lot of memory of either of my daughters’ early years. The memories usually come on the wave of other things that happen in our lives. I often have déjà vu moments triggered by their more adult actions; comparisons to how their grown up selves compare to the toddlers they were.

Those memories are what I write about, but I didn’t start consistently writing about my family until well into my daughter’s tween years, so I don’t have things I can necessarily go back and read from those early years.

Don’t even remind me I have a second child; a whole new set of anxieties pop up when I think of her. I’m not even sure if I wrote down her first word; does that mean I love her any less? I know it doesn’t, but I still feel like a bad mom..

In my oldest daughter’s first year of preschool, she made one of those decorative plates for a Mother’s Day present. It’s a picture of me. You can make out the eyes, nose and mouth, but aside from that it’s just a chaotic disorder of colored scribbles. That about sums up the way I felt in those early years. Dealing with this baby book makes me kind of feel like that picture again.

However, I know that once I finish that album, as when I finally finish my book, the second one will be easier. Unless I’m missing something.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is still wondering what she’s missing. You can also read more of her writing and

her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

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