Like many new moms, I started a log when my toddler son started speaking. He was constantly spouting cute, prophetic, and wondrous statements and I wanted to record them, ensure that these gems were never forgotten. My son is eleven now, and the log continues…although admittedly there are fewer additions these days now that he recognizes the truth behind Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy (those illusions alone warranted several entries).
But today this log has taken on a new meaning in our home. As a preteen, Evan is hilariously funny. And inquisitive. And sensitive. Now, when he says something that makes me laugh thunderously or become teary-eyed with pride, he asks, “Will that go in my log?”
He gets it now. He sees that I’m recording his childhood and, more than that, he appreciates it. Evan recently asked to read through the log with me. Some of the entries made him giggle; others left him confused. At eleven, Evan is still too young to understand the rationale for including some of the quotations. But one day, I have no doubt, he will.
The lesson for me is simple: kids love to read about themselves. Learn about themselves. We all do, of course, but children especially appreciate the brilliance of who they were. And so I have two takeaways to offer:
1) When you write your own memoirs, try to capture your childhood self. What did you think about? What did you say? What drew you in? Talk to others who may remember your youngest days or dig up pictures or drawings or toys or mementos from your childhood. Not a small or easy task, I know, but the rewards of capturing your baby/toddler/preschool voice will be exceptionally gratifying. To you and your loved ones.
2) If you have children or grandchildren or great grandchildren, do the remembering for them. Write about their early years when you write your family story. They’ll love to read about their young selves and as an adult witness to that time, you have the ability to recall specifics for them.
As a personal historian, I help people remember highlights from long-ago days. Memories forgotten. Stories overlooked. The children we once were. If you’d like assistance telling your story, I’d be thrilled to work with you. Together, we can write the book of your life.