As I celebrated my son’s first birthday, I spent some time thinking about how the past year went so quickly, and what I could possibly do to make sure I remembered everything. Then it hit me, there was a baby book sitting in the basement not yet filled out, but it was so incredibly important for me to have when I was pregnant. How would I ever remember the exact dates of every milestone? Would he even read it when he got older? How do I pass along the important memories I have to him as he got older? Life got in the way and stole my ability to properly fill out the carefully planned book. Before allowing myself to spend another second thinking of how guilty I felt, I brainstormed something much more doable for our family. An alternative baby book.
Instead of having to remember exact moments and carefully fill them into the defined spaces of a baby book, I wanted to give my son something that he will appreciate and enjoy looking back on. I decided that for every event that I deem as important and want to remember, I will write him a card. In the card I explain the event, what he has been doing a lot of recently, or even what I do not like that he is doing. I then give the card to my husband – he fills out what he wants to in the card. I include a few dollars in each card as well. This is in hopes that when he turns 18 and is “officially” an adult, he will have some money savings, and he will have the ability to see what milestones his mother and father found important in his life. It also makes it much less intimidating for us as parents to feel pressure to have to save for his college (or life) fund. I’m not certain exactly how much he will have saved, but it will probably be more than we would be able to instantly come up with when he turns 18.
What I have learned from this process is that it is much more manageable. I write the cards when I can, and the exact date is not important. What is important is that I am able to express to my son what I am feeling in the moment, as well as how proud I am of how he is growing and changing every day. I can also express to him the moments I may not be the best version of myself, and he may not be the best version of himself, that way it helps me deal with the stress in the moment, and hopefully when he is at the point in time he is going to read them, he will understand that parents do make mistakes, and it is what we learn from those mistakes that make us better.