I love memories, knowing when my son said his first word, when he began to crawl, the first time he smiled or clapped. These milestones leave an indelible memory in a parent’s mind that are too sweet to be forgotten. We cherish them and hold them dear, and write every bit in a book filled with dates of those sweet moments. When filled or outgrown those books are then passed on to our children where they can read about themselves as a baby, catching a small glimpse of their former selves. These books are tailored for every tiny person, not only on the cover with patterns, monograms or pictures but also by the content within. It is wonderful to have milestones memorialized for each of the children we have. So why ditch the baby book? While these pages filled with a timeline of events is sentimental and wonderful to look at, they only scratch the surface of those precious times. Details aren’t often included and those moments lose their meaning or memory. Ditch the Baby Book, and keep for yourself and your child a Baby Journal.
When I was pregnant with Ezra I bought a journal with no intention other than documenting my 9 full months of carrying him. I wanted him to know how much I enjoyed that time and wrote about what it felt like to find out we were expecting, our guesses to whether he would be a boy or girl, the gender ultrasound, our doctor appointments, our emotions, our moments, our thoughts. Then after he arrived the journaling continued. I would write to him about a special moment I had with him, my thoughts of being a mom. When he would reach a milestone I would write about it in a detailed letter entry to him. It allowed me to describe to Ezra what that moment was like, his reactions and mine. It became more than just a date in a book, it became a memory.
As the journal entries continued Clay and I decided that this would be our family tradition for each of our kids. We would journal to them whenever the moment struck, whether significant or simple. Just one journal for each child, and on their 18th birthday that journal of moments, memories, experiences and lessons would be given to them to re read and catch a glimpse into our minds while raising them. This journal could be something that one day we can reminisce on together. It could be a part of our legacy that we leave with them when we go. It could be a tradition they carry on with their families.
For the next 17 years Ezra’s journal will be read and re read by us as time passes and he grows older, outgrowing the baby he is now and becoming a young man. The thought of that transformation is emotional, but I am so grateful that over that course of time we will not have just a timeline of dates to glance at, but a book of memories we have created as a family. August 18th, 2034 will be not only a celebration of 18 amazing years, but will commemorate the handing over of a time capsule, one that is bound in page, filled with the words, tear stains and love for our son. Until that day comes we will continue to write. Write about his first steps, first birthday, how he felt on his first day of school, wisdom in difficult moments and our pride for his accomplishments. It will contain simple and significant, short and long. Regardless it will be his life through our lense.
So, ditch the baby book, torch the timeline and start journaling to your child(ren).
*Cue tears because mine have already started #sap