How Do You Hold On To Your Memories?

fairy dream

Article by Wendy McCance

Last night I was reminiscing with my daughter about some memories of our old house.  It was a great house with a spacious layout.  We always seemed to have friends and relatives over.  We took good advantage of the spaciousness and always seemed to have a pile of people over.  We called it the party house because of all the fun we used to have in that home.  The conversation had come up because I was on the computer sending some photos to my mom and I had pulled up some old pictures from that house.

My daughter came over and sat next to me so that she could look at the photos from long ago.  I asked her if she would like to look at some other things that had been saved from her younger years.  She was excited to see some of the things that had been put away, so we trekked down the basement to pull out some boxes of old memories.

When the kids were really small, back around their first years in pre-school and kindergarten, I was constantly getting a slew of paintings, awards, hand prints and written stories from the kids each time they would come home from school.  It added up fast and became quite a big pile with nowhere to go.  I loved what they had made and the achievements that they handed to me on those paper certificates.  I didn’t want to lose or damage all of these great milestones and so I began to put together special boxes for each child.  Now each kid has one box full of old photographs and another quite large box full of all of their special moments.

The big boxes contain not only a million types of special papers from their school, but also patches from girl scouts, tie die shirt’s from a summer when we had a back yard day of swimming, barbecuing and creating shirts for the whole family, art projects, some special cherished toys, baby gifts and so on.

Down in the basement, my daughter honed in on her box of photographs and decided to bring the box upstairs into the front room to look through them.  When her brother saw what she had brought up, he decided he would like to look through his photographs as well. Back down to the basement I went and grabbed his box of pictures.  It was great fun to watch the kids look through their photos and reminisce about different times in their lives.   They would laugh and show each other pictures that were from favorite moments.  It was incredibly sweet to see how much those photos and the memories behind them meant to the kids.

The whole experience got me thinking of how I preserve the special moments in my life and the lives of my children.  I am so grateful that I was crazy with my camera.  Every adorable moment had me running for my camera to take a picture.  I have a huge amount of photos and wouldn’t have it any other way.  When I was a kid, I remember wishing that my parents had taken more pictures and saved more things from my childhood.  My mom had only one photo album which was filled with a few pages of her youth, some pages of relatives and maybe a dozen photos of me and my sister.  There isn’t one photo showing any friend and the pictures are only from the first 5 or 6 years of our lives.  I guess that is why I went overboard with the pictures I took of the kids.  I wanted to preserve as many moments as possible.

This morning before I started writing on this blog, I had to write something down on my calendar.  The calendar is another way, although originally an unintentional way that I have been preserving memories.  I have always saved my calendars.  I have a great pile of them.  They are filled with the basics such as doctor appointments and teacher conferences.  There is also reminders of birthday parties, sleepovers, plans to go to the beach and so on.  It’s fun to look over some of these calendars a few years down the road.  You get a sort of instant snapshot of life at that time in our families life.

Now I have my blog.  the ultimate way to keep almost a running diary of the thoughts that swirl around in my head each day.  I think it is a great way to preserve a snapshot of my life.  Every now and then, the kids will want to read a few stories on the blog that I have written.  Even though not all of the stories are of the happiest in nature, it is the most authentic version of me.  It pleases me that the kids enjoy reading what I have written and have a solid idea of who their mom really is and what is important in my life.  They also get a kick out of reading about themselves.  Some of the stories have given them that same, “oh yeah, I remember that” moment which has made writing this blog more special.

I think about the future when the kids will grow up and have their own children.  I get a thrill when I picture the kids showing their own families these old photos, their special box of memories, the old calendars and this blog.  There is something so special about handing down the stories of a family and the joy in reminiscing about what life was like for them and other people in their family.  What has been the most special way you or your family has held on to the memories in your family?  What about friends?  Do you and your friends have something you do to remember the good moments in your friendship?


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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

18 thoughts on “How Do You Hold On To Your Memories?

  1. Love this piece Wendy, My parents took a lot of photos. They kept them in an industrial round metal cannister from Kodak. I have it now and keep some photos in it just for nostalgia. Where would we be without our pics??? :) How sweet that your kids enjoy your blog and family photos. The best to you and your family! :)

    • Thanks Terri. Wow, the metal canister really takes me back. I really do miss the days of photo albums, loose pictures and the old style home movies that had no sound.

  2. What a lovely picture you paint and such a precious time spent with your children. I have one child, a daughter, and like you I have always had my camera and video-recorder at the ready to capture every moment of her life. I’m afraid I have more than two containers of her things in my basement, though :)

    I am certain my love of photography comes from my father, who was always taking pictures and movies when I was growing up. I’m so lucky to have those photos today! I also absolutely love vintage photographs and I’m so fortunate to have a virtual treasure-trove of photos of my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. This picture-taking thing must run in the family :)

    PS. I save all of my old calendars, too! I’d feel like I was throwing away a piece of myself if I got rid of them.

  3. My family stopped taking photos after my brother was born. And I’m in that socially awkward phase of avoiding all cameras ever. But this makes me want to record my memories more often. :)

    • Hi Sarah, that’s great. My son recently graduated from his Elementary school. There was a graduation ceremony and although I tried to take pictures when he wasn’t aware (so I wouldn’t make him self-concious) he still saw me and kept ducking.

      A few weeks later, I was looking over those pictures and my son was excited to look at them. He seemed pretty dissapointed when he realized that every picture had him jumping out of the way.

      It’s funny how uncomfortable taking a picture can be, but how much we enjoy those same pictures later. Thanks so much for your comment. :)

  4. I also have heaps of photos of my girls along with a heap of things they have made me over the years but reading this has made me think I should really sort out the stuff out into boxes for each child instead of having them all bunched together………
    All your family memories sound so great it would have been great to see the kids remembering all the great memories………

  5. Ah! This post resonates with me. My memories are my most treasured possession. Like you I take a ton of pIctures. As you already know I like telling stories of past and present events. By writing them down I am able to preserve them for the future.

    It is very special that you have found a way to preserve and share past memories with your kids. For that I say bravo.

  6. I don’t have any pictures of me when I was young….my mom had a few….but I don’t know where they are now….what ever pictures I had thru the years were either burnt in a fire I had years ago or got ruined when I divorced… I have none….which is really sad when I think about it. And I don’t have any kids….so all my pictures are of my fur babies….and theres tons of those!

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