“A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood.” – Charlotte Davis Kasl
I love to make memories with my babies. I also love to record those memories for them and one of the easiest ways to do that is through a picture. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, then you know that I love pictures. I love taking pictures, I love sharing pictures, and I also love looking at someone else’s pictures. If you aren’t a friend of mine on Facebook, well then you’ll just have to take my word for it. Photos aren’t the only way I record memories, however. I’m about to let you in on a not-so-secret secret of mine: I’m a huge hoarder of memories!
It started before we were married. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, it started when I was quite young, but I didn’t start being organized about it until this point in my life. When I made the momentous decision to move to England I had to apply for a fiance visa. If you’ve never applied for a visa before, then let me tell you, they want to know every single detail of your life. We had to provide bank statements, phone records, letters we’d written to each other, pictures of us together, receipts of my trips to the UK, dialog of our online conversations, the rental agreement for Chris’ flat in England, details of where we were to be married, etc., etc. I organized it all in a binder and that binder determined our future. We knew we wanted to have babies and we hoped we’d be able to some day. When the visa was approved I decided we definitely needed to hang onto it because it would a fun thing for our kids to see some day. It would show them some of what we had to go through just to be together.
Along with the binder I also wanted to save all the mementos from our wedding. These were the moments of our lives that our kids didn’t get to be a part of and I wanted them to be a part of it in some way. We kept the papers describing the ceremony that the Register’s Office gave us, all the cards we received, the tiara I wore, a cork from a champagne bottle, the topper to our cake, a beautiful figurine of the two of us in wedding clothes that his aunt made for us, our wedding clothes, pictures, and the video that my mom recorded for us. I love looking at all these things. The video is my favorite. Chris sang “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” to me at our reception. Chris is not a singer and you can hear everyone laughing in the background, but next to becoming his wife, it was my favorite part of the day.
When Jude was born my memory hoarding only got worse! When I was pregnant I kept a pregnancy journal telling all my symptoms, appointments, feelings, etc. Before he was born I decided it was time to get a DVD camcorder. When I was a little girl my favorite thing to do was watch videos of the family, which I always called, “Movies of Us.” I wanted my baby to have his own “Movies of Us” to watch. So we bought a DVD camcorder and two years later we have around thirty of these mini-DVDs filled with fun memories such as the first time he rolled over, his first trip to America, his first steps, family vacations to the beach, picnics in the park, the arrival of his baby sister, her first time rolling over, them playing together, the list goes on and on. After Jude was born we bought a baby book to record all those crucial “firsts” in. I filled that with memories, dates, and pictures. I also had a book of pictures from his first year made from a website online. When we were blessed with our second child, Melody, I got to work creating all the same things for her. I kept a pregnancy journal while I was pregnant with her. I must admit I haven’t filled out her baby book yet, but I definitely will.
Looking beyond pictures and videos, the next thing I thought of to record memories for my babies were memory boxes. I could have easily made these myself, but I went with store bought ones instead. Fairly cheap and super cute, they had the compartments for everything I needed. In Jude’s box we have his first shoes, his first pacifier, his first outfit, his favorite toy as a baby (a little ball made of cloth that we had to take from him because it started to rip apart where he chewed on it so much), all the cards we received after his birth and also for his first birthday, the hospital paperwork I had to sign to have an emergency cesarean section, his hospital bracelets, the card that was on his bassinet in the hospital, his first birthday decorations and crown, the congratulations balloons from his birth, his ultrasound pictures, his ultrasound DVD, his first passport photos, his train ticket from when we took him to London to be registered as an American citizen, the first seashell he found, and probably even more things that I can’t remember offhand. Melody’s has considerably less than Jude’s because she’s only six months old, but one day hers will be just as full as his.
Sometime before Jude’s first birthday I decided I wanted to try my hand at scrapbooking. I didn’t think I was creative enough to be very good at it, but I’ve always enjoyed looking at scrapbooks and I decided it was worth a try. I got all the supplies I would need and away I went. It turned out to be fairly easy and a lot of fun. I’ve only done two scrapbooks so far, but I plan on doing more. Jude loves looking at them already.
This past New Year we started a jar of memories. This was an idea I had seen on Pinterest. You get an empty jar at the beginning of the year and anytime something happens that you wish to remember you write it on a piece of paper, fold it up, and stick it in the jar. When the next New Year arrives, you open the jar and read the memories together. Our jar is slowly filling with all the things we wish to remember. After we read through them I’ll put them in a scrapbook as well so we’ll never forget.
Last, but not least, we write letters to our kids. Luckily, I married someone who is as much of a sap as I am when it comes to things like this, so when I suggested we write letters to our babies on their birthdays, Chris was all for it. Jude and Melody each have their own notebook where we’ve written a letter to them on the day they were born and each year after. Our letters tell them what they mean to us and everything new and special they’ve done that year. I don’t plan on giving them these notebooks until they reach adulthood.
Hopefully my children are as sentimental as I am and will love that I’ve kept all of these things for them to look back on. Even if they don’t, I’ve had fun doing it. Hopefully I’ve given you an idea of something you’d like to do to record memories for your own children or simply for yourself. I think it’s important to remember the good times in life and when I look at all of these things I’ve kept I am reminded of how blessed I am.