I have a love/hate relationship with all the well-wishers who give me advice when I’m pregnant or when I’m wandering the aisles of Target with my little ones. I love that they take the time to stop and offer words of encouragement or advice that made their lives easier. What I dislike is the reminder, though kind and coming from a positive place, that this phase, this age is fleeting and time goes fast. They are, of course, correct and it does go too quickly. Oh, how I wish I had the ability to speed up time or slow it down depending on the day. I wish I could adjust the moods of my three children and maybe, most importantly, my attitude. But those gentle reminders from strangers tear my heart a little bit.
While feeling fatigued by the everyday responsibilities these little people require, I often close my eyes at night and wonder if I did enough and, more than that, I try to burn their little personalities and quirks into my mind forever. I don’t think I am alone in wanting to remember as many details as possible and pass down these memories to my kids once they are old enough. If you find yourself wanting to do the same thing, here are some quick and easy ideas.
Box: One cheap and easy solution is a box. Plastic or cardboard work well for holding all the art and schoolwork that comes home on a daily basis. “We have a storage container in our basement for each kid that I put special artwork, clothes and anything else I want to save for them in. I plan to let them open it on their 18th birthday,” says Clarissa G. of Kansas City. Jessica from Prairie Village says, “I bought an expanding accordion-style file box for each of my kids so that I can separate the years.”
Letter: Writing my children a letter a couple of times a year is one of my favorite things. Not only am I able to write down all of my favorite memories, I am able to express my thoughts and feelings for these memories—straight from my lips—for my children to read when they are older. I write these letters a couple of times a year, usually around a big event (birthday, first day of school, etc.).
Tonya from Gardner takes a similar approach: “Every year on my child’s birthday I write them a letter stating what my favorite things they did that year are. I put this letter, along with $20 in an envelope for them to open when they are older.”
Blog: Blogs are an easy way to upload photos and video, as well as use as many words as you want to talk about those cute little humans that live with you. These blogs can be public for friends and family to read or private and password protected. And many online companies will turn these blog posts into printed books.
Scrapbook: Scrapbooks can be made online and printed, created at home with pictures and stickers or, for something even simpler, just put keepsakes and pictures into a binder or photo album. Liz from Olathe keeps a binder for each child, each year, with all their pictures and most special items in it. Janelle from Leawood takes photos of her kids’ artwork and has those pictures printed out into a book. Many websites have online programs in which you upload your photos and design your own scrapbook.
Jessica Heine writes from her home in Olathe.