Since I was pregnant with Nick I have kept a journal to him and to his younger brother Stephen. Even though Nick will never physically read my journal, by writing to him we connect and it keeps his spirit and memory alive through my words.
My journals blossomed into scrapbooking and I have numerous volumes of journals and photos depicting their childhood together: birthdays, milestones, sports, awards, plays, visits with cousins, and vacations. Stephen doesn’t have any recollection of the majority of his childhood, especially our vacations together. So he jokes that he’ll wait until his kids are older to take them places.
|Vacationing in Cape Cod 2002|
I can certainly understand his pragmatic point of view, but our experiences shape who we become as adults and nothing can replace the memories shared as a family. When looking back at our family vacations, I know that we had some beautiful and magical times together. I know that Luke and I gave our boys the best that we could and that was pretty damn good. So even though Stephen may not remember this time on the beach, he can tell by the smiles and the positive energy just oozing from our photos, that our family was well loved. And I hope that some day he’ll give that same love to his own family.
|Luke with his boys on the soccer fields|
Maybe you haven’t journaled to your children or taken a great many photos or videos, or perhaps all your photos are on SD cards somewhere in a drawer or printed out and in boxes. Here are 5 tips to keep those memories safe and accessible so you can enjoy them.
1. Upload your photos to an online printing website such as Winkflash, Snapfish or Shutterfly. You can arrange them in a photo album, type in captions and have an instant scrapbook printed.
2. Take older printed photos and place them into an acid free photo album so you and your children can at least view them easily.
3. Back up any photos and videos that you have on your computer to an external hard drive. You don’t want to lose all those precious memories.
4. To store my photos and videos I create separate folder for photos and videos. Each one has the year and then a folder under the year with each month. Every month I save those photos under the year and month. If there is a big event, I’ll separate the photos or videos under a special name such as Christmas or Stephen Blackwatch season. This way even if you don’t get to scrapbook or do something immediately with your photos/videos, you have an idea of the event and date.
5. It’s never too late to start a journal. It can be about the daily or weekly happenings in your child’s life. Don’t forget to include what you and the rest of your extended family may be doing. Years down the road your kids may love to read about what your life was like, your childhood memories, your hopes and dreams.
A little or a lot–it’s up to you, but you and your children will be glad you did. Recording your memories is priceless–especially when that person is no longer with you. Photos and videos bring them back to so vividly. I’m grateful that I did record so much of my boys’ lives. I tell Stephen he is the keeper of our history as my scrapbooks will be passed onto him. I hope he’ll continue the tradition for his own family.