How much do children know about the day their grandparents, parents or they themselves were born? I sometimes wonder about mine, but our four grown children have less to wonder about their first days. When each was born, I wrote their name on a spiral notebook and recorded dates, times, situations, feelings, visitors’ names, schedules –you name it.
For years, the stack of notebooks sat on our portable dishwasher in the kitchen. Each day with my children was a joy recorded. Some days there was a lot to write, other days not so much, or nothing. Sometimes it was easy, other times difficult.
Like many mothers, I recorded the first times they rolled over, sat up, walked, talked, ate solid food, smiled for a photo, said “Mama” or “Daddy”, “ephe-funt” for elephant, ‘read’ a book, or ‘wrote’ words phonetically. I wanted to remember how they played with other children, their first innocent prayers, thoughts, ideas, discoveries, evidence of compassion or their simple expressions of faith.
The binders slowly filled with jottings, stories, lists, graphs, notations, sketches, anecdotes, methods of parenting. When I realized that my parenting methods were slipping into the picture, I began to look farther into the future. Could these journals become a tangible parenting tool for my children if and when they became parents?
The kids went off to college, found spouses and married. At this point, they began to ask for their journals. “They’re yours as soon as they’re digitized,” I said. Quietly, I typed, planned and collected. Piles of digitized pages, triple-punched, chronologically arranged, soon covered the dining room table.
For Christmas that year, each of our four children received a five-inch indexed binder packed with a personal cover letter, copies of all four journals, historical family medical information, photos and stories about their spouses, photos of parents, grandparents, and photographs of themselves—school head shots, class photos, and snap shots of highlight events in their lives.
In the coming years, they gave us eleven grandchildren. One day, my son commented on his son’s silly behavior. “Like father, like son,” his wife responded. “What do you mean?” he asked. She smiled. “You did exactly the same thing at this age.” He grinned. “How do you know?” She pointed to the binder. “It’s in THE BOOK!”
One person had read the book from cover to cover. Had others done the same? I prayed they were all being blessed, gleaning happy memories and godly wisdom from it.
That’s my prayer for you and your children too. If you aren’t already jotting or journaling your child’s momentous moments, I’d like to encourage you to begin today.
If your infant has already grown, don’t worry about having lost time. Just get started. Record today’s events and rely on memories (yours and others’) to fill in the early spaces. Record your child’s good, bad, funny, silly, beautiful milestones today. Your jottings might one day bless your family’s next generation.