Preserving our Memories

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.  ~From the television show The Wonder Years

Today I finished the Memory Book I was compiling for My Favorite Domer (aka my son or College Guy), and I must admit it looks great!

Now don’t bother reminding me I’m not supposed to be “laboring” on the Sabbath. I know that!

However, no way do I consider scrapbooking “labor.”

Nope, unless you call it a labor of love, which it surely was!

I have countless friends who are into the hobby of scrapbooking. They spend lots of time — and money — browsing craft stores for just the right binder, colorful inside pages, cutesy decorations, stickers, fancy scissors, bric-a-brac, etc. Then they spend equal amounts of time cutting things out, gluing them down, measuring and re-measuring until the finished product is a work of perfection.

They love scrapbooking and wouldn’t consider giving it up.

I never thought I’d join them — not until my son’s senior year in high school, when one of his teachers had all her classes do a Memory Book.

On a regular basis throughout the year the kids had to compose an essay on a certain topic (My Favorite Vacation, A Person I Wish I Could See Again, My Early School Years, Middle School, My Family Tree, My Special Gifts and Talents, My Future Plans, and so on). These essays were to be grouped (with photos, ticket stubs, and other treasures) into a Memory Book.

It had to look nice because it was for a grade.

Wise teacher, huh? She probably knew kids that age wouldn’t bother unless there was something in it for them!

Anyway, because much of the information to be included was stuff my son didn’t know, I had to help.

What started out as a labor became a labor of love and a really good bonding tool. We spent countless hours poring over photos, reminiscing over his early years, and enjoying each other’s company. I still get misty-eyed over some of his essays, particularly the one he wrote about his grandpa (my dad, who passed away in 2008).

When my son became a College Guy, I instructed him to save everything. Ticket stubs, pictures, programs, honors, awards, everything.

He’s a bit of a pack-rat, so that was no problem; however, he drew the line at writing more essays or cutting or gluing or organizing.

Those jobs (minus the essays!) fell to me.

He now has three Memory Books, one for each of the last three years. He says he’s glad I’m doing them, but I know he’ll be even more glad several years into the future. Time has a way of erasing things that photos, songs, and stories help us recall.

What are you doing to preserve the past so you can relive it in the future?

10 thoughts on “Preserving our Memories

  1. That sounds like a lot of work. I have to admit, I have been given scrapbooking supplies, but just never got into it. The best I can do is save a few pieces of artwork a year and shove them in a folder. Not nearly as impressive as your projects!

    I do have tons of photos. I don’t print out many of them, but I do a few each year so the kids can flip through photo album pages (and I don’t have to worry about jelly or who-knows-what-else ending up on my computer keyboard.)

    I’m glad your son appreciates your labor of love because it really is nice!

    • Janna, it IS a lot of work, but the finished product makes it all worthwhile! With my son’s “little kid stuff,” I haven’t done as good a job — everything is kind of stacked in plastic bins by year. When he finally gets his own place, HE can go through them, haha!

  2. I use to love scrap booking but am now organized digitally. I miss the scrap book page. When Joe died–we placed a poster size picture of him on top of my entertainment center for the memorial–which was held in our home–I just left the picture and over time the top of the top of the entertainment center has gathered things Joe would like-or Cole wants to show him. Even friends will write messages on a notebook that showed up or leave a piece of chocolate, sometimes a meaningful picture It always makes me smile. I clean off the “offerings” when the season’s change but always snap a picture first. Cole once remarked its a little like the Buddha alter they have an my manicure place. . which made me howl with laughter.
    Your Memory books sound lovely and are certainly a labor of love.

    • Katybeth, I LOVE your “Buddha alter” idea! What a lovely tribute to Joe and how fitting to keep his memory and presence alive for Cole (and you!)

  3. Debbie, you are so ambitious and creative to take on scrapbooking! I believe it is a very worthy cause. It seems to have become more challenging in the digital world we live in. I used to be so organized and have dozens of albums from different times of my life. Now I have a tons of pictures on my computer or phone with no home of their own. I think it is wonderful that your son is capturing his college years in pictures. What a special time you shared with your son making memories as you were preserving memories!

    • I’ll be the first to admit it seems rather old-fashioned, but like you, I’ve got gazillions of photos on my computer and phone (so does he!), and I just can’t bear the thought of them being “homeless”!! Thanks for visiting and adding to the discussion!

  4. I admire people who scrapbook and I truly admire you for doing such a special thing for your son. I have billions of pictures of my grown kids and tried to give them their pictures but they left most with me. Maybe I should make books for all of them………not! LOL You go Debbie

    • I know you’re busy, but I bet you’d be surprised at how pleased your kids would be to receive a scrapbook of their memories, maybe for Christmas?! If nothing else, do save the photos in an album where weather can’t fade them (easier to pick up and move, easier than wading again and again through stacks of pictures!) Thanks for the high praise, but I hardly merit it, as I enjoy it, too!

  5. I love the scrapbooks I see others creating. Just haven’t been able to bring myself to jump on the bandwagon. It’s one of those things I know I’ll start and never quite get around to finishing. But I’m very invested in preserving memories… I just do it through my photography and blogging.

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