How long do you keep nostalgic items? I have three baby books, multiple photos boxes, and three art filled portfolio cases for each of my children resting snuggly in my family room closet. Is it considered over-the-top that I have taken the time to organize these items for them? Could be, but I wanted to do it, not only for them, but for me as well. I love looking back; being warmed by sweet memories of a distant life.
Recently, I helped my parents pack up 65 years-worth of memories from the old farmstead and move the necessities and the necessary memorable items into a condo. It took some organization, some heavy lifting, and patience on everyone’s part, but we did it. My mom is a consummate gatherer, and I am surely her daughter; boxes upon boxes of photos were unearthed due to the move, still to be organized. But much to my surprise, not only did she save our baby books, but there were four plastic bags in the box with birth congratulatory cards and 1st birthday cards for each of us…what a treasure!
The cards are incredible! Artistically, I can appreciate the designs from the 1960’s. There is just a different quality to them; they are timeless. The notes I read in each one means so much; people’s names I recognize and those I don’t. It gives me an avenue to reflect upon my parents at that time; a young couple just 28 years-old welcoming their third child into the world, and their friends and family reaching out to share in their excitement. My mother was busy with two already in tow; just the fact that she kept the cards and even small notes attached to bouquets of flowers is incredible.
My mother also kept a baby book for each of us. Of course, the oldest not only had the most cards saved, but probably had the most written in her baby book- rite of passage, and that’s understandable. Probably what struck me the most from my baby book was a small passage my mother wrote about me at just over a year old. I can be sappy when I let go, and that paragraph just hit me. It’s hard to think of yourself as a baby, even harder to picture your parents, now in their mid-80’s, as a young couple raising babies. Your brain starts to make the connections from you raising your children to your parents raising you, and although you can’t possibly relive their memories, a bond is formed from child to parent when you make the effort to put yourself in their shoes.
I am so thankful for the items my mother saved. No offense dad, but it was her. Have I gone overboard saving things for my kids? Well, not according to me, which is the only opinion that really matters. I loved every minute of raising my kids and carry no shame for being a saver, just like my mother.
Over the years, when all of my children are gathered at my house, those photo boxes have come out, and the laughter comes out with them. I look forward to going through my mother’s photos, not only because I love to organize, but because it will be time we spend together; reminiscing, laughing, sharing the moments from a distant life, and being in the present moment with one another.
So, hats off to mom for being a saver, a sweet and loving mother, and friend I can laugh and cry with. I cherish every card and every little note written in my baby book. Know this mom…not one ounce of your effort was in vain. I know that being a loving mother goes way beyond saved birth cards and notes in baby books. You’ve always been there for your children- you put us first, and I am grateful.