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Reflections November 2013

Slice of Life

Gift Aids Sweet Memories

By Amy Laundrie

I’d used a blank page in her baby book to write a few anecdotes. “You woke up on your fifth birthday and said, ‘I’m five today, but I don’t feel any bigger. I want to try on my shoes. I wonder if they’ll still fit.” If I hadn’t written that precious exchange down, I would never have remembered it.

My elder daughter’s baby shower is coming up. It’s her first baby, and a boy! I had no trouble purchasing a practical item, and a boy item, but I also wanted to wrap up something that would resonate or reflect our mother/child bond. Maybe a baby book.

I pulled hers out from its special cupboard and paged through. I paused when I saw snips of her white-blonde hair I’d scotch-taped on the last page. I’d forgotten how blonde she’d been. Oh, and look at her tiny footprints and hand prints. It had been challenging to press those hands and feet into the ink pad then onto paper. I’d added a side note: “What a mess!”

I’d used a blank page in her baby book to write a few anecdotes. “You woke up on your fifth birthday and said, ‘I’m five today, but I don’t feel any bigger. I want to try on my shoes. I wonder if they’ll still fit.” If I hadn’t written that precious exchange down, I would never have remembered it.

Baby book aside, I decide to dig out the two spiral notebooks which I’d used as her childhood scrapbooks. On June 9th, 1982, I’d written: “The last day of school! I’m looking forward to spending the summer with you. Today when I picked you up from Edie’s (the lovely older woman who babysat for us) there was a dead shrew in the driveway. Edie explained the cats catch them, but then won’t eat them. In celebration of summer vacation, Edie had a specially prepared bag of goodies for you. You carried yours out to the car while Edie and I continued to visit. On the trip home, you dug through your bag. ‘No more candy until after supper,’ I warned. ‘Okay, Mommy.’

“That evening I reached in the bag to pull out the candy and felt something furry. Ack! A dead shrew. You’d picked it up while I’d been distracted and had played with it on the car ride home.”

Another incident I would have forgotten if I hadn’t jotted it down. The secret, for me, was to use a cheap notebook. If I’d purchased a glitzy scrapbook or journal, I’d have been intimidated. With three children and a full-time teaching job, I didn’t have time to “prettify” my entries.

I paged through some more and found a five-year-old entry that would be fun to share with my daughter the next time we’re together.

“As I was tucking you in for the night, you asked, ‘How old were you when you had a baby, Mommy?’

‘Twenty-four,’ I replied.

‘How do you write twenty?’

‘2-0.’

‘Oh, I’ve been wondering that for years. I thought it was 1-2. How old will I be when I have my baby?’

‘I don’t know, either younger or older than I was. Would you like to have a baby someday?’

‘Yes, I would. Good night, Mommy.’”

I keep flipping through. I find whimsical drawings, envelopes with baby teeth, imaginative stories she’d dictated to me and I’d typed, and several sweet mother day notes. It’s as if I’m reliving those years.

That does it. I’m off to buy that special baby shower gift, a spiral notebook, so my daughter can record her own child’s precious childhood years.  And while I’m at the store, I think I’ll pick one up for myself. After all, I have a new grandson coming. And if he’s anything like his mother, he’ll have some great one-liners, precious drawings, and imaginative stories. And I don’t want to forget a single one.

 

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