Birthdays are a big deal around here. It seems the perfect time to celebrate your very existence — the fortune of your birth.
This week was my daughter’s birthday and, because we couldn’t be together this time, my husband and I settled for lots of talk about when she first appeared. From the first thrilling glimpse of that tiny pink body to her constant giggly nature.
This year we gave her a copy of her own baby book. (We just couldn’t part with the real thing just yet.) Contents were copied and put it in a nice little folder for her to stash away and bring out whenever she felt the need.
Before I was off to the printer, we sat down with this padded, predictably pink album to retrieve those early days. Every page was filled with blurry snapshots and the heartfelt feelings we had when she was a baby, right down to a snip from her first cut. Green parents always over-celebrate the tiniest of moments and are especially anxious to hear those first words. Will it be mama? or dada? or, in her case, “What’s that?”
It was a time in my life of wonderment, befuddlement and high anxiety. It turns out that babies can be scary little creatures — they cry and can’t tell you why! All of it makes me smile now because I can remember how excited we were when this sweet little thing entered our lives. And, believe you me, this is something that helped when those teenage years hit. Leafing through good times from the past has always helped lift a sagging mood, and it’s handy to have those emergency measures standing by.
I’ve been old fashioned enough over the years to have kept physical evidence of those good times. Sitting down with the kids occasionally to reminisce and laugh — page by page — has always been great fun. But I lament and wonder if this happens much when those moments are merely files on a phone or computer, along with a thousand others. Whenever I ask what people do with all the photos they take, they usually stare at me for a second, then shrug and say “nothing”. As if they never really thought about it before. They shoot and store, seldom even deleting blurries or duplicates.
These days, I do both. Choosing key shots of the year’s highlights to print, and keeping the rest on the computer for when we want to see more details of the event. There’s just something delicious about holding an album in your lap and tu
rning the pages of your life.
To take advantage of this habit, you have to keep the albums handy, not in a box or hidden niche somewhere in the basement. A visible bookshelf would be perfect, but we have a very small home so our collection is on a closet shelf above the hangers. Not close enough to be in the way, not so far as to be forgotten.
The frosting on the cake was that my daughter loved reading about how we felt when she was born. POSITIVELY JOYOUS!