Imagine crawling up into the attic space of an old family home and finding a trunk filled with a child’s memories from 100 years ago: old photographs and clothes, beloved toys and books, faded journals and diaries, tiny shoes and baby blankets. To the lucky descendant who discovers them, those simple mementos from an earlier time would have value beyond measure. It would be almost like stepping into a time machine and catching a unique glimpse of life details they might have never known otherwise.
Yet for parents doing the daily, repetitive work of caring for small children, they can hardly imagine that the little scuffed shoes that must be retied countless times will soon be outgrown, or that the thread-worn, hard-loved security blanket will eventually be folded up and put away, or that the sticky little hands leaving prints on the wall will someday be driving off to college.
Turning the calendar page to another new year is an annual reminder that time moves ever forward — that “babies don’t keep” and little ones do not stay little. Rather than lament the passage of time, use this gentle yearly reminder as a nudge both to treasure the present moment and to look ahead toward the future. For today’s parents and grandparents, finding a way to preserve the present as memories for the future can be a bit daunting. Where to begin? What to save? And how to save it? The temptation might be to hold onto every little item — every drawing, every outfit, every lost tooth. But rather than just boxing up everything, put yourself in the role of curator. By imagining which items will be the most meaningful to future generations, you can more easily determine what to keep and how best to store memories.
Photos and Videos — Happily, since most people spend their days connected to their phones, it is easier than ever to capture photos and videos of babies and children as they grow and change each day. The tricky part, of course, is remembering to save the images for posterity. The start of a new year is the perfect time to review the past year’s stash of phone photos, separating out the keepers from the clutter. This is also the perfect time to select special images to print and frame or to place in an album.
Silhouette Portraits — Resolve to start this new year with a classic focus on the tilt of a child’s nose or the sweep of an eyelash with a silhouette portrait by award-winning artist Clay Rice. The art form of silhouette cutting has been a Rice family tradition for three generations. By putting scissors to paper with surgical precision, this Charleston native accurately produces the perfect custom silhouette that will become a lasting family heirloom. Visit RiceGalleries.com to schedule an appointment.
Bronzed Shoes — Remember when almost every home had a pair of bronzed baby shoes on the mantel? Bronzing is back as a wonderful way to preserve the pitter-patter of little foot memories. Silver, pewter, and gold are also options. Visit bronzery.com to learn more.
Growth Charts — Whether marking a child’s height on the door jamb of the family home or on a growth chart that can be packed up and moved, the simple annual act of drawing a line and the date demonstrates growth and the passage of time like nothing else.
Handprints — Making a child’s handprint or footprint, either with paint on a ceramic plate or by pressing into a freshly poured concrete driveway, is a poignant reminder that little hands grow fast and that holding time still for a moment is the sweetest way to begin a new year, every year.