Watching my 10 month old these days, I am often stunned by the fact that, as he sits up for the first time and starts to crawl, I have very few memories of my older son--who is almost 3--doing the exact same things. I remember them happening, of course--it's not like I am surprised that my eldest now can walk so I obviously know that he took his first steps. But my memories are of the fuzzy, global variety. Like the way I remember that I went to elementary school. The nuance, the singularity that made these MY memories--that's what's missing. Moments I was sure were etched into my consciousness forever are--well--nowhere to be found.
I was not happy about any of this. Forget Obama, I want to remember the way my son says "good morning beautiful day!" every morning. And I want him to remember it too. Which is why I decided to turn to the place I often rely on for help in a crisis: Google. A few months ago I set up gmail accounts for my kids. Whenever I have that itch in my brain that says "will I remember this one day?" I write my kids a quick note. The results are pretty scattered--and equally amusing. I just looked at my eldest's account and there are messages about everything from how he calls going to school his "job", to how he likes to watch horrible tv (why oh why oh WHY did any sane person create the whiny horror that is Caillou??), to how I have never been so proud in my life as when he, unprompted and for no apparent reason, was sweet and kind to an old, lonely stranger at a party.
Email is far less daunting than the beautiful raw silk baby book you have yet to fill a page of. (At least mine is raw silk. And man is it gorgeous. Even with the 3 inches of dust it has collected thus far. Maybe one day I will donate it to a museum.) Just as quickly as your child can say or do something hilarious, you can forever enshrine it in an inbox! Nothing about recording your memory has to be "perfect" (and I know I don't have to introduce you to the Devi-perfectionist-complex do I?) and you don't have to do a dog and pony show with it--email is almost quaint in its simplicity and privacy. Moreover, something about this method makes it easier to capture all of the unique, silly, anachronistic, anomalously amazing things about our kids. When you don't have a set number of pages to fill, or somebody dictating to you that you should "place first birthday party here," the milestones arrive organically, and can include moments such as the first time your son was in a photobooth (which is a big rite of passage in my family).
The last week has reaffirmed to me how rich our lives are. Not only for the big things, but for all the little ones too. Writing these seemingly silly messages to my kids gives me--and one day my kids--a way to remember some of these little things that make our lives ours.