The second box was mementos from my children's preschool and grade school days. After an hour of tears as I reread "You're the best mom ever!" and "My mom is as pretty as a princess," they all went back into the box, to be brought out another day when I need a good cry.
Also in that box were two thin, paperback books - "A Gift of Memories from Grandma/Grandpa". I gave these books to my maternal grandparents when I was newly married and asked them to complete them. Grandpa's Parkinson's Disease was advanced enough at that point that writing was difficult, so most of his answers are one or two words, but there are some wonderful insights and a few humorous stories.
"Grandpa, if you were elected President, what would you do for our country?" "I would outlaw green peppers in salads."Grandma told a story of hiding in a patch of tall grass as a child, and listening to the whole family searching for her. She also admitted to some cooking fiascoes in her newlywed days.
I wish I had taken the time to visit with them about their answers - to ask more questions and get more details - but when you're twenty-two, you think there will always be time. Even as incomplete as they are, the books are precious. They were repacked with the other items for another round of memories another day.
Not long after my day of memories, I was browsing Barnes and Noble and picked up "Mom, Tell Me Your Story" a guided journal by Susan Branch. This memory book is much more in-depth, with spaces for full-page answers, rather than a word or two.
Some are straight forward questions:
Where did your family go on vacation?
Who were your childhood friends?
What did you have then that we don't use any more?
And some are going to take more thought:
What did you dream about while growing up?
As you matured, what kinds of things inspired you?
What is your best advice about relationships?
What should I know about having children?
What would you most like to be remembered for?
Writing my own story is a challenge that is both exciting and frightening. I'm not shooting for a professional memoir, but I do want to write more than cursory facts. I want to give my children some genuine insight into being a child in the 60's and 70's, a young wife in the 80's, a stay-at-home mom in the 90's - a true picture of their mom, flaws and all. But also some some stories that they'll enjoy finding and re-finding. My plan is to work on it bit by bit. Maybe I'll present it to my kids when I'm 60 - or maybe 70 - or 80. After all, there's always plenty of time, right?