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Capture the Memories
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here's this week's!

Photo Wallphoto © 2008 Travis Isaacs | more info (via: Wylio)

Certain moments occur in every parent’s life that we vow that we will remember: the way she sounded when she said "mama", the way he looks when he sleeps, or the way she skips around the house. Yet too often our memories betray us, and years later we can't conjure up those images or those voices, no matter how hard we try.

Today we have tons of aids to remember our kids’ triumphs and foibles, but we don’t always have the time to use them. Many of my friends are into scrapbooking, and I’m always amazed at the wonderful collages they can make of something as simple as photos of kids playing in the leaves or going to the beach. But all that work is way too much pressure for me. My best friend started scrapbooking six months ago, and she already feels as if she’s five years behind! Yet nevertheless, when I see her creations, I feel like a horrible parent for not wanting to join the fun, but I don’t want to start a hobby that will just induce guilt.

So what can we do to stop that memory sieve? After all, one day I’m going to want all those memories to embarrass my children with. I’m already planning the video montage and slide show at my kids’ eventual weddings. My own mother started the tradition. At a speech on my big day, she read aloud the little booklet from my grade one composition class: “I live with my Mommy. Her name is Beth. She sleeps a lot. A real lot.” I used to wake up at 6, and having to wait until 7 to go into her bedroom just about killed me. It defined our relationship at the time.

When my girls were younger, I kept a notebook by my bed where I could write down anything particularly funny my own girls say. One of my entries from ten years ago was when Katie asked, “Mommy, if God has the whole world in His hands, does that mean Australia is getting squished?” I don’t want to forget that. And I won’t even go into what she said when I told her about the birds and the bees. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise if any of you are ever invited to her wedding.

But that embarrassing slide show won’t be complete without pictures and videos. Too often, though, we only get the camera out for special occasions. I’m trying to start taking pictures of everyday things, like how they look curled up in bed reading, or playing the piano, or practising the guitar, or even blow drying their hair.

I always managed to remember to take photos when the kids were little of my oldest child. My younger one, though, was more like an afterthought. When Katie was five I realized I had no pictures of her that did not also include her older sister. My uncle, who grew up in a huge Irish family, once said that if the third child has more than 10 photos taken of him or her by the time he or she is 16, half of them are on file at the police station.

There are so many pictures I wish I had taken with they were younger, but it’s too late to get those years back. But I can still find plenty of embarrassing ones if I start snapping, even today. So this summer I’m being camera happy. And now that my kids are teens, and are well-acquainted with technology, I’m getting them to organize all the photos and videos so that I can find them if I ever need them. I may even let the girls prepare each others’ eventual embarrassing slide shows. But I’m still not taking up scrapbooking.

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At 9:59 AM , Blogger Mary said…

It's so much easier now that we have computer that are easy to type on and save to a word document; also digital cameras where you can upload the pictures and save them, almost instantly.

When my kids were little, (not that long ago!), we didn't have computers or internet, and we didn't have digital cameras. You had to take pictures and take them to the store and pay $10 to get them developed. So, it has never been easier! Go for it!


At 3:54 PM , Blogger Megan said…

I have to jump in and tout "Project Life" by Becky Higgins. I do not have the desire, time, energy, whatever to scrapbook, but I've always felt I wanted something more than a photo album to record my family's activities. I just finished up my first year of doing Project Life, and it has been PERFECT. I leave the album open on a table in my laundry room and once a week I print out pictures, put them in the layout for the week, and add journal cards. Done! The only downside is that the kits are sold out right now; but I really encourage you to check it out! And there's a digital version you can do and just have it printed up and sent to you at the end of the year if you prefer doing it that way.

Love it!!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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