How do you remember all the things you did with your children as the years pass and you add to your family? The pace of life these days does not lend itself to the instant recall of the many places you took your child as babies, infants and toddlers and the things they said and did.
As an adult I remember asking my mother about details of my early childhood and she found it difficult to recall the finer details. I wanted to know the silly stuff like:
What had I said that had made them laugh while I struggled to learn language?
Which toy did I fall asleep with in my arms at night?
Where did they take me and how did I react as a child to people and places?
The list is endless, believe me. Years ago there wasn't such an interest in preserving memories for future generations and so many of the memories of my childhood, and I'm sure many others, are lost and forgotten in time.
Today I have three small children and since their birth I have kept almost everything from their birth cards to tickets to places we visited together. I have a box for each of them and every time we visit a museum, go on vacation or receive a report card from school I put the evidence in their box. Their boxes are full of tickets, cards, certificates, badges and even the letters we wrote together to Santa. One day I will give them these boxes and as we look through them together, these items will help me remember what I did with them as children.
It’s important not to forget because their early years are a vital part of who they are today. It has been said that between the ages of 2 to 6 is when most of your child’s intelligence and social characteristics are formed. If this is correct then these trinkets of their childhood are priceless as they go a long way to explaining who they are as a person.
For me, the benefits of keeping such souvenirs are really two-fold:
1.) It helps me to remember more clearly our family memories in terms of time and place. Quite simply it’s a memory jogger and as such I can only hope it will unleash a story they will love and cherish hearing.
2.) Its a part of their childhood they can share with me over and over and then take away with them to show to their own children when the time comes.
I hope I am also teaching them by example the importance of preserving memories and their place in our lives. That these memories are what shapes us as individuals and they should not be forgotten or discarded.