Update on the Memory Project

source: CaityQuilter.com, a very intriguing blog

Several months ago I posted about a new practice I’ve undertaken: to record tidbits about the kids in individual journals, one sentence per day. You can read about the project and rationale here. Since there were quite a few people who were interested in the practice, I thought I’d provide an update and some thoughts.

The Blue Room is a place for inspiration, but also truth telling: I am still at the memory project, but if I manage one entry per week I’m doing well. This creates a mental struggle. I envisioned these journals as a place to record the everyday jewels of parenthood that are easily forgotten over the years. But if I let too much time elapse between entries, I end up wanting to make sure the Big Important Milestones are recorded. This requires more mental energy than I’d expected the practice to require. The whole point was to write the first thing that came to mind, no matter how ordinary, but if I’m having to sort through the past week to find the most journal-worthy thing… well, that’s too tough and becomes a barrier to doing it at all.

Also, the fact that there are three of them, and I feel the need for some parity, works against me. Part of what’s fun about the journals is that they’re not just baby books, which means the thirdborn’s should have just as much content as the girls’. (I love Erma Bombeck’s old bit about her kids’ baby books; by the time her last child came along, the sole contents of his baby book consisted of a pie crust recipe torn from the newspaper and tucked into the otherwise empty pages.) I feel like I should write in each journal each night, but sometimes there’s more going on with one kid than with the other two.

Like most spiritual disciplines and parenting practices, I see this practice evolving. My ultimate hope remains the same: to present each child with a handwritten book of quotidian wisdom and observations from their childhood. And if I end up handing them a book with 15 months of memories followed by a lot of blank pages, well, that communicates something worthwhile too: that life is about experimentation—starting more projects than one could possibly finish. Completion can be an elusive thing in life, but there’s something valuable in the undertaking.


3 thoughts on “Update on the Memory Project

  1. Ted Fulmer says:

    regarding ‘parity’ – A kid in school has more going on than a kid in preschool. Also the oldest will leave for college someday and then you’ll struggle to maintain parity from the other direction.

  2. susan says:

    Ted said what I would have said. Maybe the answer is to just write in one kid’s book per day, and if there’s nothing to say, there’s nothing to say.

  3. The discipline is more than worth it. God willing, should you reach grandparenting stage, you may have a golden opportunity. The news “you all will become grandparents” was so overwhelming to me, there was but one way to “deal with” the news: writing – thus began my first “grandparenting journal” around Thanksgiving the year (2006) before July birth. Now there are two (likewise the second begun with pregnancy news) and now even a THIRD (called “Third Life” which is marital relationship beginning with retirement first day of September. As a parent this began for me when one offspring was in seventh grade and asked one day (when I brought in the snail mail) “is there any mail for me today” and I realized that I could write TO the “child” years before college (during which I continued my practice, writing actual letters and mailing with actual postage). For me the opportunity is one page each (no more) per day with many days left undone. Never at a loss for “what to write” because my observations are so detailed: Magna Gerber is my heroine: Wait, Observe, Enjoy – the role of an infant’s EduCarer that I cherish. Great encouragement your way.

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