I have a confession to make – I’m a baby book dropout.
While I whole-heartedly LOVE journaling, and all things paper, when it came time to grab the baby book and write down all the milestones, I fell completely flat. With each child, I had the best of intentions to capture every detail of their little lives in an artfully preserved album, but it simply never happened. As a result, I now have three beautiful, but empty baby books … And some mommy guilt.
Sadly, I’ve been grappling with this for a few years now – I mean, will my kids ever believe I loved them to pieces if I don’t have the dates of their first teeth, when they laughed for the first time or the date they took their first steps? All I can say is, “I sure hope so,” because those dates have come and gone. In the moment, I chose to comfort their pain as they cut teeth and cheer them on as they began to express themselves and move around with some independence, and it just didn’t occur to me to document it at the time. (Hopefully, I’m not alone here).
About a year ago I figured the most important thing I could do to start preserving their memories was to get a box and begin saving the big ones, like their newborn ankle bracelets, special art projects made using their hand and foot prints or story books they created. It worked out surprisingly well.
Once I had been doing the "box method" for a while, the mom guilt subsided, but I found myself wanting a memory book again. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I suppose old habits die hard. I knew that a book with “rules” wasn’t going to work for me, and I wanted to create something that was open-ended, yet still special enough to hang onto for life, and flip back through the years (no pressure, right?)
It took some time, but in the end, I decided to get a leather-bound, unlined journal so we could have some open-ended memory keeping. I'll be honest, it was HARD for me to do, but I cracked the cover and let the kids go to town. In as much as I wanted to have one book for our family to write down memories, doodle or design plans for a transformer recycling machines, letting those tiny hands make the first marks defied every OCD bone in my body … But I did it! Now we have a free-for-all family book where we can take some time every so often to journal together.
The only rule I have is that every entry must be dated, and every picture must be signed by the artist. Other than that, have at it kids! I’ve heard it said before: “the best thing about memories is making them,” and I may have to add an asterisk that a little memory preservation is pretty great too.
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.