Keep the Memories Alive: Ramblings from a Mom Whose Youngest Started Kindergarten
This has been a tough week for me. My youngest daughter started kindergarten on Thursday, and I have been crying ever since. I miss her like crazy each day when she leaves the house, and I think about her throughout the day. Though she went to pre-K last year, she was still home for half of the day. Now, she’s gone from 8-2:45.
I’d already seen (and cried) through my oldest going away to school; now, not only am I losing a second child to what comes next in life but I’m realizing this: my story time, mommy and me, block playing on the floor for hours days are over.
Just. Like. That.
On my mamamarathoner.com blog, I shared this thought with my parent followers:
And it’s true. Because they grow so fast. I recall once when, as a teacher, my friend and classroom aide took my class to the library for an outing. She looked at the moms with their kids at story time and said, “Those were the best days of my life.” I remember thinking then (this was pre-kids): Those will be the best days of MY life, too.
And they have been.
While I love having children who are somewhat independent now, I also really enjoyed the days of heading off to story time, or doing arts and crafts in the backyard without a schedule to work around: no school, no classes, nothing but time.
Which now I realize we just don’t have enough of when it comes to raising children.
So here’s my advice to those of you whose kids are still young enough to be at home: Do stuff with them, and keep those memories alive.
Buy a scrapbook. Purchase a few pages and stickers and trinkets when they go on sale at the craft stores. Print pictures of things you are doing with your kid(s): story time, mommy and me classes, first steps, playing with Moon Dough at the kitchen table, finger painting on the driveway, walking around the block after naptime when the warm sun is kissing your shoulders. Then sit down and put those together in a memory book. Make one for each child, and give it to them when they grow up so they can see what it was you did with them when they were young. And let them help make the scrapbook, even if they have small hands and not the best cutting skills!
Write to them. I have journals I keep for my girls, and I write about our special times. Of course, the first years went by so fast, and I kept so busy, I didn’t write as much as I should. But I still wrote. And I will continue to write. And when the girls head off to college, I will hand them these journals so they can take them along and read about their lives from my point of view. I make notes about things they are doing at the time (learning to talk, fixating on their hair, calling friends on the phone). I write about things we are doing as a family (taking special trips, going canoeing, swimming daily). I write about things they say and do that crack me up, and I write about how much I love them and how proud I am to be their mother.
Make believe! One of the best, most fun times of our lives are when I am pretending to be Peter Pan and leaving special trinkets on the doorstep, or writing Peter Pan letters to the girls, or ringing the doorbell and then throwing open the door when the girls skid around the corner, only to exclaim, “Oh my gosh! Did you see that green thing fly by?” Luckily my oldest still believes; it will be a sad day when she doesn’t. I just hope when she gets older, she will keep these memories in her heart. I have saved all the letters she wrote to Peter, and all the ones he wrote in return. One day they will be scrapbooked, too.
Take video. I wish I had taken more! My girls love to watch themselves on video, and oh what I would do to have them on video at certain story times, at mommy and me class as they danced around the room on their chubby little legs, at play dates as they played with friends. You think you will always remember what they looked like and the funny things they said, and you will remember a lot of that; but as with all things, time blurs the memories. Buy a small video camera or use your phone. Take it with you when you go. And USE it!
And of course, take pictures. A lot of them. And then print them. Keep them in photo boxes arranged by date and go through them with your kids from time to time. They will love looking at the photos and remembering the special times you spent together just as much as you will. At the time of this writing, Snapfish is offering a great deal: 50% off prints and free shipping. Use the code FIFTYFREE at checkout. I got 256 pictures for about $13 yesterday.
Oh, and don’t blink! Really, trust this sobbing mom of a kindergartener and a third grader: it goes way too fast, no matter what you do to stop it.
What do you do to keep your memories alive?