I’ve been fortunate to have my own mother in all 37 years of my life. She’s answered any question I’ve ever asked her and helped me become a mother to my own children. I have a million memories of her and know her inside and out. The same is true for my dad. And, they are still just a phone call away.
I’m reminded daily, through other’s life stories, that I am lucky. Children of all ages lose their parents to the unexpected. Life on Earth is so fragile and temporary. I feel summoned to leave behind something tangible for my kids…just in case. A final act of love that I hope would help them heal and grow.
What does this look like for me? It’s “in process”, imperfect, and has a few pieces…
(failed) Scrapbooking: It started with good intentions…handwriting notes among the paper and stickers. With 3 kids in 3 years, I was bound to fail and did. I have a better digital plan that I need to do…eventually or maybe my iphoto is enough. Whatever works for you, photos and stories will always be a wonderful keepsake.
Blog: This very blog started with my kids in mind. I’m writing to fellow parents, but I’m also writing with hope that my kids can read it when they become parents someday, especially the part about being tired and delirious.
Home Movies: One summer goal we have is to transfer all our little mini-dv tapes from our video camera onto DVDs. We store these in the fire-safe, and plan on having many popcorn, family movie parties this summer. Note: Don’t forget when you are videoing your kids, get in there with them. Capture the imperfect moments, we all know that’s the best. Sneak in a story or do a quick video clip of a parenting trick. I always get a vision of Michael Keaton’s “My Life” movie. Sniff, sniff.
The Legal Stuff: This is the consult your lawyer and financial advisor part–powers of attorney, living wills, who gets the kids if you both pass away, etc. We give a copy in a big envelope for both “spare” couples loaded with information to lesson the chaos if that happens, and we’ll update it as needed.
The Sentimental Stuff: I keep a folder with a few personal documents to my family like letters and funeral guidance, including a playlist in my itunes. After a speech about “stuff is stuff”, I’ve also made a document of a few family heirlooms with pictures to pass down…and directions for a baby shower gift for my kids…just in case. I’ve worked on it 20 minutes here and there…whenever I think of something. Here’s a few examples…
My favorite part of the document, is writing light-hearted lists…must read books and movies, quotes about life, thoughts of faith, some journaling, advice, etc.
My plan is to reread and update this document at least once a year, near Mother’s Day and pray it never gets put to use until my great-grandma version.
Have you started anything like this? What does it look like for you?