Children, they draw on our walls, poop on our carpet, and give us reason to find beauty in every day. Though we may dream of selling them on the black market some days, their presence is very much needed. As a parent, I have an intense fear that I won’t remember the blissful events (and even the chaos) of my children’s childhood. I can’t remember the first time my little girl said, “I love you,” or the feelings I felt when my little boy began to crawl, and this greatly saddens me; so I decided to make a few changes. Luckily, I’ve discovered a few tools that will enable me to cherish even the smallest of moments I enjoy and want to remember. Here are 5 ways to help you document the most important people in your life.
I’m probably never going to win an award that has anything to do with craftiness. The idea of sitting for hours and gluing cutouts of camp fires (have you seen the edges you need to cut around?!) and paw prints just to document a day in the mountains makes me want to volunteer as tribute in the Hunger Games. Project life is a digital scrapbooking software you can access from your smart phone. Let’s face it. We all take a million photos of our children with our phones. Project Life allows you to simply drag and drop photos into a custom or pre-designed collage along with text, and wallpaper. The best part? You can save your newly designed page and print it for under $2 by installing the Persnickety Prints app on your phone.
Chatbooks are the best thing that has happened to Moms for Memories Movement. The Chatbook app allows you to upload your Instagram feed into a 6×6 (or larger) book complete with the captions you typed upon posting. If you’re worried about keeping the details more intimate, you can do what I did and make an Instagram account that only you have access to (no followers.) The company also allows you to upload photos from your desktop. My children love looking at chatbooks. These books are especially invaluable when our service members are far away from home, and serve as a great reminder of good times. For $6 it doesn’t get much better than that.
Dear Baby Journal
For eight years, my friend’s mother wrote her letters detailing what had happened that particular day, including intimate feelings and impressions. I love this idea because it allows you to put a name to the future reader. Journaling is something I avidly believe in, but admit that it can seem daunting at times, especially when the future reader is not easily identified. Writing has also been credited with helping to fight dementia and other memory loss illnesses.
Seeing our children in motion, especially when time has dimmed our memory, is one of the most priceless possessions we can own. Right before my husband’s last deployment I took a beginner’s class to learn the art of video. While I am far from professional, being able to capture moments in motion and send them to my husband helped us both cope with the memories he was missing. Watch my first finished video here!
Allow me to climb on my soapbox. Photos are the most timeless emotionally stirring reminders we can own. As literal time machines of the cognitive process, images not only serve as visible reminders, but they also allow us to revisit the emotion of the moment. The harsh reality of our lifestyle is this: we raise our children often times in the absence of our partners. Countless hours of sleep have been lost over worry of me not being able to relay the important and even tiniest moments of my children’s lives while my husband has been absent. Photos allow me to keep him in the story even if he is missing for a few chapters.
As military spouses we have a special place in history. When future generations look back on this time period of ongoing war and change they will look at US. WE are the authors of what our posterity will know about our lives in these moments. By documenting our lives, as well as our children’s lives, we allow ourselves to most accurately relay our families’ stories.