For years I have kept a ratty ole pin cushion from Grandma Longenecker in my sewing cabinet. It looks pitiful, but I’ll never throw it away because it came from my Grandma. Pierced through its dusty middle with some of her pins and holding one of my mother’s hairpins, I’d say it’s more of a keepsake than an heirloom.
Remember Art Linkletter’s show “Kids Say the Darndest Things”? Of course they do! I have kept quotes from each of our four grandchildren since their early years, as keepsakes. It’s easy to do the same for your children–both grand and great–nieces and nephews too:
1. Be alert to their part of any conversation. You never know when a wacky, wise, or witty saying will burst forth from their lips.
2. Write it down ASAP. Memory is tricky. If you don’t get it just right, what they have actually said may lose its zing in your faulty translation.
3. Use a notebook or reserve a folder on your computer desktop for the quotations. For example: SayingsPatrickCurtisJennaIan.doc
4. Always include a date. If you’re like me, you’ll never connect their age with the saying. What seems precocious at age 4 would sound ordinary at age 7 or 8.
Here are some examples from my files. (You can guess which one I would pull out at a rehearsal dinner celebration!)
Patrick & Jenna snacking after planting grass plugs
- 2.15.07 Patrick to Mommy Crista: “Mom, we can’t move to Florida.”“Why?”“Because we can’t get Daddy’s bean bag on the plane.” (age 4)
- 10.24.09 Patrick: “My favorite thing in school is writing in my purple journal. Every story I write has the word ‘the’ in it!” (age 6)
- 12.23.09 After Jenna breaks her snow globe Christmas ornament Cliff gave her from Washington State, Patrick says, “Grandpa, the next time you go on a trip, don’t give the little girl a glass present.” (age 6)
* 6.25.09 You and Patrick were with NaNa as Mommy was having some time to run errands. You were busy upstairs helping me pack for PA: on jewelry– “That’s too fancy . . . or too casual.” On outfits – “This matches . . . this doesn’t.” (age 4) Fashion design in her future? Who knows.
* 8.5.12 Mommy Crista: “So we are at the beach and Jenna and I are sifting through sand looking for neat sea shells. She says to me, ‘Mommy, you know, you are doing pretty good for your age. Flattered (and in my bikini), I said, ‘Well, thank you. Do you think I should cover up a little bit more?’ Jenna says, ‘No, Mom, I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that you have good eyes for looking for nice shells.’” (age 7)
- 1.1.08: NaNa observes that Curtis is wearing his “Dash” suit to bed, and so she says, “Why are you wearing your Incredibles suit to bed?” Curtis: “Well, I need to be strong in bed!” (age 5)
- 11.7.10 When I came to dinner on Sunday evening, you had balled-up paper in a small laundry basket and mentioned you wanted to have a “dry” snowball fight. (age 7)
- 5.10.13 I describe how Great Grandma’s Chicago snow globe was taken on the sly and how sad she is as a result: After a bit, Curtis goes to his room, and gets his own larger version of the snow globe, a keepsake from his early days in Chicago, to give to her as a surprise. (age 9)
- With Grandpa at the mall, as Ian finished drinking his chocolate milk from a straw, he exclaimed, “Look, I’m a sucker!” (age 4)
- After being given an assignment at pre-school, (All Saints’s Episcopal), Ian completes this prompt: If I were President, “I Would protect the children!” (age 5)
- 3.18.13 When Great Aunt Janice gives us kumquats, you say, “I’m glad I’m not a kumquat!” Now what brought that on, I wonder? (age 5 1/2)
Another Keepsake: Kid-size Gratitude Journal
Tables Turned: Kids do their own drawing, writing: “I’m thankful for . . . . ”
Add your clever keepsake idea to the mix. Tell us an activity or tradition that helps keep memory alive for the sake of the next generation in your family.
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