Picturing The Perfect Collage

Collages in progress | Photo from Tannya Joaquin

I was the type of student who would get upset with an A-minus. I always turned in my homework on time and never procrastinated on a big assignment.

Boy, have things changed the second time around. No, I’m not in school, but my children are. They’re in preschool and I now have homework and projects to complete for them. Even if you graded on the curve, I’d be generous to give myself a D.

Chalk it up to being a busy mom or simply making too much out of a simple task, but I’m already struggling with my first assignment of the new school year.

To welcome students into their new class, parents are asked to create a collage of family photos so their children feel comfortable in their new environment. What’s the big deal? On the surface, it sounds easy.

But, for me, it’s more than putting pictures on construction paper. It becomes an exercise in family politics. I suppose I could simply put together images of my immediate family, but I feel obligated to represent grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins equally. I would hate to have a family member visit and feel slighted by our collage.

Instead, I stress and start looking everywhere for the right assortment of family photos. That leads to the dreaded task of scouring through multiple sources. Yes, it would be too easy to have what I want in one place. No, I have to tap into Facebook feeds, iPhones old and new, laptops (mine and my husband’s), memory cards, iPads, cameras … you get the message.

The next chore is sizing and printing pictures. I usually go through a couple of rounds to get the right assortment together for a test run.

I’m no Martha Stewart, so I have to psyche myself up to get creative. My bright idea this year was to buy stencils and a glitter pen to write “Kaimana” and “Hana.” Turned out to be a major failure, which I ditched after attempting one goopy glitter letter.

Luckily, I had markers handy and just wrote their names freestyle. But I’m still not satisfied with my photos yet, so it’s back to the drawing board to find, size, print and layout the right representation for their collages.

Yes, I have to do two this year. Double whammy! Especially when I’m trying to make them picture perfect!

Hopefully, by the time you read this, they’re just right and I can stop obsessing, or at least start worrying about their next assignment.