Keeping memories

Yesterday we were at my mother-in-laws for lunch (a perk of not having a kitchen!) and she produced lots of family momentos. Her three children's cards and letters, party invites and school books as well as old photos and certificates. D's books were mostly filled with pictures of motorbikes and helicopters, but I especially liked the idea of 4 year old D drawing this: 
Darth Vader by my husband, when he was 4 :)
Seeing all these mementos made me think of a sentence that really touched me in last week's book
"One of our sacred functions as mothers is to be our children's memory keepers. To keep mementos of their precious years which they are to young to remember fully themselves" 
It struck a chord when I read it as I'd witnessed the importance of this in a number of families in the previous days. I know an aggrieved and abandoned mother who has left her her grown-up children with so much bitterness and anger from her tainted memories of their father that their relationships with everyone else in their lives suffer. In this case, I witnessed what happened many years ago and it's not the same story that the children were told and which has become their memory of that time.  They have nothing to remind them of good times - in fact there is no trace at all that there were happy times with their father. In another family, the now-adult children have such differing memories to their mother, and to one-other, that there is constant tension and I see the mother in search of some physical proof, some independent record, that might tell her how it really was and whether she was or wasn't a "good" parent. And of course we all worry about that to one degree or other. 

Being subjective, memory-keeping doesn't always work so well alone, and I think it's important to have photos or other momentos to hang the memories on, somehow this makes them more real for me. D and I are trying to preserve the good memories as much as we can - it's one of my reasons for blogging too. It's how our children will 'know' our families, how they will 'remember' their grandpa who died before LM was born. In some way, it's how they learn about their own place in the world. I hope the fact that we have kept and cherished their memories will say something about us too.

So here's a memento I'll be keeping safe for Little Miss. Her very first solo sewing attempts and a little heart she made with Nanna's help. In the future, when she gets this out of her box, we can remind her of the Saturday nights the children spent at my mum's. How she was usually reluctant to go but loved it when she was there. How she got to bake and stay up late and do things she didn't do at home. How much she was cherished.
Little Miss (age 3) has been sewing this weekend.
I got a FaceTime call yesterday morning when she'd finished it and the look on her face was absolutely priceless -  she was so proud and thrilled with it.  Yes, this little treasure will be kept safe, but that look on her face? Well, that's a special memory I'm keeping for myself.

14 comments

  1. Lovely post. My kids like to hoard things that they've made/found/whatever. I try really hard to keep the special stuff... they so enjoy looking back at it, even only a few years on :)

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    1. I have a hoarder too - it can make it tricky to decide what should be kept!

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  2. Crafting is a very special way to create memories. My aunt left me pearls and diamonds that languish in a safe, but every time I pick up needle and thread I remember how she used to be able to make perfect tiny knots a quarter inch from the end, with just one hand. And the needles live in a canvas needle book that my granny made for me 25 years ago. I'll never reach for a needle without thinking of her. I should probably tell her that.

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  3. What a lovely post, very heartfelt and I think it is lovely that you are keeping that for memories. I would like to think I will do the same when I have children, as I am very sentimental

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    1. Thanks Hazel. I'm sentimental about certain things for sure :D

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  4. This little heart is so sweet. I have so many memories that are related to my grandmother and my mother doing handcrafts. :-)
    My mother is knitting a doll for her 7th grandchild due in May. She made that doll named Tobias many many times for newborns when I was a child. In fact I was thinking about Tobias last week before she told me she had started knitting one.
    I often tell my grown-up boys stories about them when they were little and they really love to listen to these stories.

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  5. Such a lovely post and one I've lived by since the day we decided to have children. I set up a blog with Livejournal in January 2005, so I have my life mapped out from then until yesterday (and soon to be today - just settled down to write my next post). Whilst I neglect my craft blog, I never forget to update my personal one because I'm writing it for my girls. I hope to turn it into a scrap book very soon.

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    1. That's some dedication - I'm sure they will treasure all those memories. :D

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  6. The mementos are cute. I bought these art portfolios for my girls' stuff. There's a lot of stuff. I started them b/c my mum did the same thing for me. But I'm warring with going digital instead.

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    1. I photograph a lot of things because it's just not practical to keep everything, but I am planning to make a printed book of the pics when they are older.

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