The Box, The Book, and The Blanket {creating memories}

It’s August, which automatically means that many a parental mind jumps to “school mode”.

School mode is when

we think about the supply list(s) we have to shop for,

in our house we take out the box of school uniforms and see what will still work from last year (I LOVE UNIFORMS!!) and what needs to be replaced,

we pinch the ends of toes in their new shoes to make sure there is room to grow,

zippers are checked on backpacks and lunch boxes to see if they will work for another year,

and my heart is both excited for the routine to start and a little sad that the routine is starting.

When my children started school, I wanted to make sure that at the end of their Senior year they had the ability to look back and remember.  My little loves will have the best of times and the hardest of times during these growing up years, and remembering is important.  Call it a little history geekery if you will; I love creating memories for my children.

Because I think the idea of making memories can be overwhelming some times, I thought I would share what I do in hopes that it might encourage you!  It’s really not hard; the most challenging part is sticking with it over the course of time.  At just a few years into it, I’m already so glad that I have these projects going!

1.  The Box

Each of my kiddos has a box on the top shelf of their closet.  If they make handprint art, it goes in The Box.  When they bring home the first story they wrote, it goes in The Box.  When they are super excited about a math test that they made a 100 on, it goes in The Box.  Sometimes I put a sticky note on the piece with the date or a comment as to why it is box-worthy.

The Box is easy to maintain.  It just sits there.  One day I might organize everything a little more, but for now, the idea that one day a grown-up version of my babies might sit down and sift through their Box with misty eyes is enough for me.

2.  The Book

I have a copy of Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess for each one.  At the end of the year, I hand the book to their teacher that year and ask them to write a little note in it.  At the end of their school years, they will get their books as they head off to their next adventure.  College?  The mission field?  The workforce?  I don’t know the places they will go at this point, but I want them to be bolstered by the encouragement of those who have loved them through the years as much as possible!

3.  The Blanket

Every year I save at least one t-shirt from school. At the end of their school years, I plan to have these shirts made into a t-shirt quilt for each one.  Again, not knowing the places they will go, my hope is that it will make them smile and laugh, and if I’m being completely and shamelessly honest, maybe even shed a few tears.  I want them to have something to hold on to, and snuggle under when they watch movies on the couch wherever they might be.

They won't be this little forever!!
They won’t be this little forever!!

My goal with all of these?  That they be simple, yet powerful memory-makers.

With four children I don’t have the time to put into super detailed and organized projects!  I need to err on the side of simplicity, or else it just won’t happen!  At the same time, I don’t want having four children to become a reason why I choose to not do this.  It’s not for everyone  and you can have powerful memories without being wrapped up in a quilt, I know that.

So then why bother?

Right now, I do this and stick with it because it helps me process time.  I see the stack of faded and worn shirts piling up, I see the boxes filling up, I see the pages in the books covered with sweet notes for my children and I know time is flying by.  These projects help me value the time that flies, and encourage me to make the most of it.

Right now, I do this and stick with it because I know that that crucial transition time between school-age and the Great Beyond is a challenge!  For my babies to move from one stage to another is hard for them and for their mommy and daddy!  My hope is that the completed projects will help ease their their hearts into their new journey by letting them take a little bit of their past with them.  My hope is that the completed projects will help ease MY heart into their new journey by knowing that they are carrying the weight of many years of prayers and love and encouragement with them.

That’s how I am holding on to these crazy school-age days!  My advice if you are looking to start something is to follow the KISS rule.  Keep It Simple, Silly.  It’s never too late to pick something up! Are your kids starting High School this year?  Then just do a quilt for the high school years!  Is your little cherub about to embark upon the mysterious and crazy Middle School Years?  That’s the perfect time to have teachers write them a note at the end of the year!

Stick with something you know you can and WILL do for a determined amount of time, and give yourself grace if you fall short of your expectations.  Something is better than nothing!

How about you?  Do you have something you do to help make these memories stick?  Are you planning on starting something this year?  I would love to hear about what you do, or what you hope to do!

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