As many of my Facebook friends already know, my youngest Isabella turned three yesterday.
I know I sound like a eighty-year-old Grandma, but…
WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?
Wasn’t I just gagging down a Tbs of castor oil, trying to entice this 10-days-late stubborn child to finally pack up and enter the real world?
So I’ve been rather nostalgic lately, thinking about legacies.
You know, the memories…the values…the feelings we leave behind after we’ve left this world.
I want to move those memories out of my head and into into family lore.
Memories like how Bella likes to sing Happy To You…Birthday! instead of Happy Birthday…to You!
Memories like how when you ask her how old she is, she shouts “CINDERELLA!”
(Numbers. Never been strong in my family.)
The Two Types of Legacies
There are two types of legacies parents leave their children.
- The physical items and traditions that get passed down from child to grandchild, etc.
- The inward character and values that our children (hopefully) embrace and pass on to their children.
The first legacy is pretty easy (and is the subject of this post).
The second is a lot harder especially when you have a baby. After all, there’s not much “character development” going on in those first 12 months.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t think ahead.
*Jumping into room with cape and mask*
In a few days my hubby and I will sit down on the quiet couch and start
smooching planning. (SuperPlanner Spandex is optional. Super Spanx is not…)
We will talk through the events of 2012, and those areas we’d like to make 2013 different.
Since planning is my super power, this is actually fun for me.
It’s like we’re playing the game If I Could Have Anything.
We daydream about everything. Our children. Our marriage. Our money. Our schedule. Our life.
Then we take those dreams and discuss how we can transform them into realities into the year ahead.
For this post, though, I’m going to address the first kind of legacy. What do you have NOW that they can treasure THEN?
Here are 3 things to transform little memories into generational treasures.
After my grandmother died a few years ago, my aunt and I were sorting through some of her belongings (okay a LOT of belongings, she was somewhat of a hoarder) and I came across a very worn little journal.
As a history-addict, I was nearly breathless with excitement to see what it contained.
And my addiction was well fed.
It was the journal of my Great Grandmother, written as a memoir for her unborn, and then newborn, son Howell.
My late grandfather’s mother.
A woman who died before I was born was coming alive before my eyes, talking about “little Howell’s” aunts and uncles, and describing her day to day life in Milwaukee at the turn of the century.
It transformed those B&W stoic family photos into hilarious pranksters, hopeless romantics (the story of my great grandparent’s meeting is one for Nicholas Sparks), disciplined laborers, and creative entrepreneurs.
It left me completely overcome with thankfulness for these hardworking God-fearing people who shared my DNA.
I quickly realized I wanted to give that gift to my great-grandchildren.
That someday when I’m just a faded photograph (or futuristic Star-Wars holograph!), my great grandchildren would read my intimate thoughts about their grandparents and realize what a unique family they have standing behind them.
That it would resolve themselves to work hard, love much, laugh often, and pass on that same spirit to their great grandchildren.
So I picked up a journal for each of my kids. Every now and then, when something happens we want to capture, Cameron and I jot down a few paragraphs.
In the feast of tech options we have today, I realize this seems a bit old fashioned. Why journal when I can snap a picture or shoot a video?
Those are entertaining…but shallow. It’s a 2D representation of a memory.
The journals fill in the back story with all the thoughts and hidden memories I’ll want to share through the grave over a quiet coffee.
The second way to capture a hundred-year legacy is through FOOD.
At our house that’s most evident around Christmas with my mother’s recipe for Kringla cookies.
We’re not Swedish, so I have no idea why this is a family tradition…but hey, they taste good!
Don’t have a recipe passed down from your ancestors?
Start the trend yourself.
Pick one. And then make it a LOT with your children.
Not only will your “Great Grandma Jessica’s Meatloaf” be famous for generations, but your family will have eons of memories associated with making “your” (Read: Bobby Flay’s) recipe.
The third way to pass along a sense of family history is through comfy quilts and blankets.
My favorite “comfy quilts” in our home was made by my Great Great Grandmother. (It’s currently folded at the bottom of our bed.)
She was an unbelievable seamstress. A trait that sadly never made it to my gene pool.
Since I don’t sew (even buttons, it’s pathetic), I turn to to talented mamas like Erin Duke at I Guess Sew to do my crafty work.
Erin makes heirloom-quality quilts that you can watch being passed down the family tree.
They are handmade and high-quality. Which means you will be tucking your grandchildren in with it.
Erin makes gorgeous Linus-sized quilts like this one for dragging around the house and draping over car seats.
How Will You Capture Your Memories?
I’m sure I’m not the only parent who wants to physically hand her kids a memory.
I’ve got some memory notebooks, a few good recipes, and some well-loved quilts to hand them.
But I’m sure there are other ways to capture these moments forever.
What will you be doing to pass on these fleeting months?