Moms Who Saved Their Children’s Childhoods
(And You Can, Too!)
BY LINDA DOBSON
When our family celebrated my three children’s birthdays as they grew – especially the two birthdays just two weeks apart and just one week before Halloween – we enjoyed busy times. But as hectic as things grew, I always gave myself an additional assignment to accomplish. No matter how big a party coming up, no matter if the cake was ready, no matter the weather, I’d get into town to pick up a copy of the day’s newspaper.
In this way I saved my children’s childhoods so when they spread their wings to enjoy independence, they took with them a snapshot of each year we enjoyed together as they grew, not just with photos, but with the news, the trends, the politics, and the prices of the times.
How Others Have Saved Childhoods
Recently, an online news article shared how another mother saved her son’s childhood, making me wish I had done the same thing, along with buying and saving newspapers. Her story inspired me to ask fellow homeschoolers and friends what, if anything, they had done in past years along the same lines. Their responses made it clear that, indeed, moms enjoy saving their children’s childhoods. Use their ideas or let them inspire your own brand new ideas so you, too, can save the childhoods so precious to you.
- As she did laundry, the mom in the article I read would empty her son’s pockets and place everything in a big jar. While the fact that she let him see the things and wouldn’t let him touch them struck many readers as over-the-top and unnecessary, this mom presented the collection of his pocket treasures to him as a wedding gift.
- Save outgrown t-shirts! Heather is doing this to turn the t-shirts into a quilt one day.
- Kelly offered another quilt idea: My aunt saved her girls’ favorite clothes. Before each went to college, my aunt made a quilt from the clothes. That’s beautiful enough, but in several squares she cross-stitched certain firsts in their lives; birth date, first steps, first day of school, first kiss, etc. Twin quilts for their dorm rooms that are absolutely lovely.
- We created journals on trips, Lacy contributed, and stated that it’s fun to compare the different perspectives she and her children had after experiencing the same adventures.
- Save art projects in 3-ring binders, Lisa suggests.
- Photographs, obviously, were another favorite, with different moms putting their unique spin on the projects.
- When (another) Lisa’s oldest was a baby, she took her photograph every single day. It seemed like they’d stop at some point, but there was really never a time when they wanted to, so they didn’t. Lisa’s daughter recently turned 16 years old and her family has taken her photo every single day of her life. They’ve done the same with their almost 12 year-old daughter, too.
- Along with photos, Helena saved newspaper clippings, notes they wrote in class to their friends, certificates, awards, ribbons and porcelain dolls, etc.
- Kristin saves oodles of photos, as well as all of the children’s Halloween costumes, lovingly crafted by their grandma.
- Waldorf-style “main lesson books” her children made for most of their lessons, and art sketch pads with captioned illustrations, accompany Valerie’s family’s extensive photograph collection.
- Lillian’s vivid memories include mental pictures of toys strewn around the house at various development stages, and she wishes she had taken photos of these.
- Barbara wishes she had saved all his Lego creations! “Only one is left.”
- I have a box of my son’s favorite books through the years, contributes Lillian.
- Lynda saved special first clothing, baby afghans by grandma, and “t-shirts since, back in the day, getting special t-shirts made was a kick.”
There are as many ways to save childhood as there are moms to think of them. By planning to save, you’ll remain aware of the joy of the moment and respectful of a child who exists today just as s/he needs to be. You’ll also have plenty to talk and reminisce about when the time comes to present the “saved childhood” to your grown child.
One More Childhood Saving Technique
Mary adds, “I began saving their assignment books. There’s a transition from when I wrote them all out in the lower grades and checked everything, to when they took over and kept their own records. The books are interspersed with illnesses, lazy days, fun field trips, and just family stuff. They really became a record of the kids growing up.”
Go ahead, mom. You, too, can save a child’s childhood today.