A co-worker put her hands to her face, signed big, and lamented she couldn’t believe her son was graduating.
Then she went on, “I’m trying to enjoy every minute and soak in this last year of high school for him, despite the busyness. It’s all just going so fast.”
But, as a mom in the middle years, with elementary school-age kids, I just didn’t get it. I felt like I’ll be in this stage of life forever. I’d never be in her shoes.
Until later that night, trying to fall asleep, my brain replayed the conversation. I reflected on my own kids…
My oldest son – that week – became taller than me. (His dad, “Go back-to-back with your mom! You’re taller than her! You weren’t yesterday. My goodness. You grew an inch overnight. *Pause.* Did that hurt?) My middle son hasn’t carried his shiny, red Lightening McQueen car with him everywhere for years. And my baby now knows how to read. (When did that happen?)
I have a 6th grader, 5th grader, and 1st grader.
My kids are getting big too.
The time is in fact speeding by.
I’m going to blink and have graduating seniors too.
Then, I got my coworker.
And I understood what she was saying about trying to soak it all in. She wasn’t necessarily going to “enjoy every minute,” that’s not reality, but she could be intentional with her time, being present, taking pictures/videos, and some things she saves so she can remember what it felt like to be a mom of a with kids in her home.
I was glad about that conversation with my coworker. It gave me insight into where I’d be standing in a hot minute. And it made me think about the kinds of memories that are important to me, and how I’d want to save them.
I know lots of parents get sappy about their memories too. So, here are some ideas as to how to save your favorite memories…
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Keep a journal to jot down what you want to remember:
I like keeping a journal in my purse. I’ll jot down ideas for blog posts, things I need to remember from the store, and cute things my kids say that I want to remember. Pretty journals are best. Here are some ideas.
Make notes about moments you want to remember on your calendar:
My friend writes the humorous words out of her kids’ mouths on her wall calendar. (Brilliant, lady.) But you could also use your calendar phone, notes app on your phone, desk calendar, or daily planner. If something happens that you want to remember, make a note on that day. Your calendar becomes a keepsake.
Take a picture or record a video every day.
I love photo journals. Take a picture or record a 10-second video every day of the ordinary. That’s what we look back and miss the most anyway. Also, if your kid does or says something that you want to remember, pull out your phone and have them repeat their actions. They’ll love it. Then your phone/camera/go-pro is hopefully linked directly to your drive in the cloud to be forever recorded.
Take up photography.
I love how a nice camera feels in my hands. Good photography is so fun to try and capture. Look on Instagram and Pinterest for photography ideas. Follow people who take great pictures. Read articles that help you take great pictures of the ordinary, like my article here.
Use digital frames and screen savers.
Connect your photos to a digital frame or screen savers. It’s fun to see all of your photos being rotated on your devices.
Have your kids fill out these school memory printables.
I have my sons fill out these memories pages at the beginning and the end of the school year. I emailed them and they use their school iPads to fill them out and email them back. I then throw them in my Shutterfly photo albums. I love seeing their handwriting and reading their thoughts.
Post on social media.
Many peoples’ social media accounts ARE their scrapbooks. They share posts like my Godzilla picture. I love the “Facebook Memories” – gets me every time. I like seeing everyone else’s photos as well as scrolling back through my photos and remembering. My settings are private so just my friends see my personal posts. Have fun with social media.
Scrapbook and make photo albums.
Of course, there are traditional scrapbooks. I love doing this, but you need time. But the time doesn’t have to be right now. I threw all my wedding memories in a plastic bin and 8 years after scrapbooked it. It turned out fun to re-live those memories so far after our special day.
Put together Shutterfly photo albums
I absolutely love putting together Shutterfly photo albums. It’s therapy for me. It helps me see where the time went. You can go the easy way and upload your photos and have a book automatically made for you. Or if you like to look through the photos and place them, then you can put the book together yourself.
Put together Shutterfly photo albums
Have a keepsake box. Honestly, I wish I would’ve done this earlier. Get a bin for each kid and throw in their special keepsakes: uniforms, trophies, art, cards, whatever.
Print out photos.
Occasionally print out your photos. You will end up with a nice collection of your family over the years.
Collect personalized keepsakes.
As you walk through motherhood, create some keepsakes of moments you love. You collect some nice keepsakes over the years.
Your turn. What did I miss? How do you save your favorite memories?
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Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?”
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.