I've been scrapbooking in some way shape or form since the late '90s. I started when I was in college as a paper scrapper and eventually found digital scrapbooking, which has dominated my memory keeping efforts for a good five years now. But ... I'm burned out. I no longer find joy in scrapbooking. I love to tell stories. I love to remember the best and even worst moments of my life. But putting them on a page and making them look pretty just isn't appealing to me.
I've been trying to come up with a different way to document the stories of my life without spending copious amounts of times making elaborate scrapbooking pages.
"This Photo" is a weekly series focusing on documenting and sharing the story of a single photo. Instead of traditional scrapbooking, "This Photo" project will allow me to tell the stories that matter the most to me in a different and more accessible way (here on the blog). Each week, I'll pick a photo that interests me and tell its story. It might be a recent photo or it might be an old photo from my childhood. I'll just pick something that speaks to me and is begging for its story to be told. At the end of the series (whenever that may be), I'm going to collect all these stories and put them in a photo book.
THE STORY OF "THIS PHOTO"
I got a panicked called from Shelby's school. Her nose was bleeding. That wasn't that uncommon. She'd been battling regular nose bleeds since she was about 18 months old. She'd had so many, she could stop them with one hand while bouncing a ball in the other.
This particular bloody nose was different. No matter what Shelby did, she couldn't stop it. The school nurse tried to stop it, but couldn't. The PE teacher stepped in and tried to work her magic, but the blood kept coming. By time they called me, Shelby has been bleeding for almost 40 minutes. They sounded panicked and I felt the same way. She never, ever bled that long. I jumped in my car and headed to school, not sure what I'd find.
When I got there, Shelby was pale and confused, but the bleeding had finally stopped. Linda, the PE teacher, tried a trick she used as a kid and it magically stopped the bleeding. She bled for an hour and looked pretty beat up. Her favorite sweater was soaked in blood. Her pants were splatter with blood. A waste bucket sitting next to her was filled with bloodied paper towels. The worst part was the dazed and confused look on Shelby's face. She kept telling me, "Mom, I couldn't get it to stop."
For the first time, after years of nose bleeds, I was scared. We head to the emergency room at the advice of our pediatrician. They checked her out and did all sorts of tests to see if they could figure out the problem. In the end, after she was pumped with fluids and watched over for a bit, we left with a referral to a specialist.
As a mother, there are few things to make my heart hurt as much as seeing my child scared and in pain. The 15 minutes it took me to get to Shelby while she bled at school were the longest, gut-wrenching 15 minutes of my life. I wanted to be able to scoop her up, hold her and keep her safe. Being stuck in a car, racing across town was nearly unbearable. I have never been so relieved to see my girl, with as ghost, with a weak, but obvious smile.
When I look at this photo, my heart breaks again. I never want my kids to be scared or in pain. I always want to be able to protect them and keep them safe. But no matter how hard we try, there are times out kids will get hurt or suffer.
After this particularly bad bloody nose, a specialist recommended surgery to fix the problem. The blood vessels in Shelby's nose were too close to the surface. When her blood pressure would rise, they would burst and the bleeding would start. They would burst over and over again, since they never had enough time to heal. She had two surgeries, one for each nostril, and hasn't had a bloody nose since.
"This Photo" is a weekly series focusing on documenting and sharing the story of a single photo.