Grit Blogs > A Long Time Coming

In Celebration of the Ordinary

A photo of Shannon Saia

It’s been a time of great technological stress.

My computer crashed two Thursdays ago, and refused to reboot. At first this did not exactly panic me. I mean, I’ve been pretty good about backing up my writing onto disc for sometime now. I was confident that I hadn’t lost much more than a paragraph or two of original work. I realized pretty quickly, though, that I hadn’t been quite so diligent, of late, about backing up the photos of my daughter. And not only that; because my hands can never quite bring my best imaginings into being, I’ve given up on conventional scrap-booking, and for a few months now I’ve been using a book layout program to create photo scrapbooks. I hadn’t backed up any of these files, and I feared that they were gone.

My wonderful and tech-savvy brother-in-law messed with it for me for about a week, and gave me the final diagnosis: fried motherboard. I was going to have to buy another computer. The good news, though, was that the hard drive was intact, and it would be a relatively simple matter (for him!) to get my files off the defunct computer and onto a new one. We took care of all of that this past weekend, and Sunday I was able to get back to all of my various projects.

So I was working on one of my photo scrapbooks last Sunday, compiling all of my favorite photos of my daughter into a single book which I plan to have printed for myself, and it occurs to me – most of my very favorite photos of her are not of holidays or of birthdays. They are photos that I took on days when we did nothing in particular. They represent our life together in all of its ordinariness. A single photo of my little daughter getting ahead of me in an empty neighborhood street recalls all of the times that we’ve walked around the block together. It reminds me of the day that I was feeling impatient, and I was hurrying along a little one that was big enough to walk, and big enough to want to walk, but who had neither the stride nor the interest in keeping up with me. Come on! Let’s go! I started to fuss at her, and my little Dr. Suess-lover lifted her face up towards mine and said, “Mom, a person’s a person no matter how small”.

Little Girl Walking Away

Another photo reminds me of all the time we spent in the car together on work days, shuttling ourselves back and forth from home and day care. Messy curls, mismatched clothes, empty bottle…how glad and relieved I always was to see her at the end of the work day, how just getting her back into my sight made – and still makes – all right with the world.

The pictures recall the day we went to the mall, and she sucked on ginger snaps and we bought the Elmo pajamas. The day that she first sat up on her own in a shopping cart basket; the first day that I gave her solid food; her playing out on the deck, in the yard, in the leaves; digging in the garden; throwing straw; hamming it up for the camera in a restaurant booth; all the big, beautiful smiles; the occasional moody and brow-furrowed glares, “No pictures!”; all the evidence that we’re doing okay; that we have a happy child that is well taken care of; none of the anxieties of everyday living; all of the joy.

They are a reminder to me to celebrate the ordinary; a reminder that the best things in life are the ordinary; and in spite of any aspirations we might have to the contrary, that we are each other’s greatest work.

amazingwomen
5/9/2012 12:37:12 PM

i would like to use this image - susan@amazingwomenrock.com


s.m.r. saia
9/2/2010 12:40:00 PM

Thanks everybody for coming by and reading!


vickie
8/28/2010 5:29:09 AM

Shannon, That's what we all need sometimes -to appreciate the ordinary things of everyday life. You have such precious memories-wrote down for her. Have a great weekend vickie


nebraska dave
8/27/2010 9:18:11 AM

Shannon, our technology is certainly a love hate relationship for sure. Sometimes I just long for the days of DOS when computer life was simple and backups could be done on just a few floppy disks. Then I realize the miraculous things that can be done with computer technology. I was in college when computers were being born but soon lost the capacity to know everything about them because of the speed of development. I too have had scares about the loss of memorable things. With the invention of digital pictures it’s even scarier that they could be lost with a single computer burp. I have another hard drive that resides in its own case and plugs into the USB port of Lucy, my computer, to hold and cherish all my pictures and stories of life. In addition to that I try to periodically backup my document folder to DVDs. I have to agree with everyone who has commented about how fast time passes by. My kids are now grown and mostly gone with lives of their own. I still have my youngest daughter with her son living with me. In the midst of raising kids, there are times that seem they are never going to grow up but when they do it has indeed gone by too fast. My most special times with my kids were the times we would just talk about ordinary things. Kids have such a pure perspective on how life should be. We should really listen to them more than we do. My grandson has just started school and I love to listen to him tell about his day.


cindy murphy
8/26/2010 10:48:13 PM

Beautiful post, Shannon. Your daughter is at that fun age when everything is fresh; there's so much new and exciting in the world for her to learn. Yet, there's so much she already knows. I always thought it was pretty danged cool when one of my girls taught me how important something as seemingly simple as slowing down for a while really is. Precious memories. And they're still teaching me. Glad your computer is up and running again. Thanks for the reminder that I should back up more often!


oz girl
8/25/2010 7:51:12 PM

Shannon, that photo is absolutely priceless. I agree with you wholeheartedly, the simple times are most certainly the best, and definitely the most memorable. My son and his wife just had their first child, a daughter, and my daughter-in-law had to leave for work the other day for the first time (she teaches 2nd grade) and it about killed her! My son is taking care of Leah until he starts college next week, then my daughter-in-law's mom will step in to help. But I know it's still hard for them to leave their precious 2-month old. I know they will treasure every moment with her more than others, as they had countless miscarriages before her. It sounds like you treasure your daughter everyday, and look forward to every moment you spend together. I sure miss those days when my son was small. As Mountain Woman said, before you know it they are heading off on their own. Beautiful post. :-)


mountain woman
8/25/2010 2:42:39 PM

Shannon, So beautifully said. Looking back on my time at home with my son, I remember those days too of snuggling on the couch with a book or playing outside. The big holidays and parties I don't remember as much. As you said, it's the simple moments that I will always treasure. With children, you turn around and they are off on their own and time with them is so precious. I loved your photo. There's nothing better than children and the joy they give us. What a great time in your life.