By Jackie White
As the school year approaches, parents feel melancholy about beginning another school year. It means their children are growing up fast and the sands of time cannot be stopped. As a parent of almost-grown children, I can’t help but to look back on those memories and how fast we have moved through the years. We all experience similar feelings as we move through the stages of parenthood. It’s not uncommon for Back to School time to stir them up. One thing that I am happy to have done over the years is preserve the memories. Following this blog you will find several ways you can creatively keep your children’s school memories.
A song that captures some of those feelings is the song “Forever Now” by Michael Buble. Tissue Alert! The song eloquently captures the emotion and love we have for our babies as they grow.
Remember the first time you saw their face? It seems like it was just yesterday. That little face that you will love unconditionally and from a depth you never even knew existed. You knew then that you would do whatever was needed to always keep them safe from harm.
Your babies grow and move onto to school. The first day of Kindergarten just about wretches your heart from your chest. Your baby is now a “big” girl or boy. You fight back the tears and cheer them onto all the great things Kindergarten will bring.
What’s so fantastic is that your child sees life through the eyes of possibility. It’s almost as if the world if full of magic! Their enthusiasm for life is breathtaking and can even influence you to be silly and goofy sometimes. These children come at a time when most of us have become so cynical, that we need them to teach us how to remember to love the wonder of life.
As the “big” girls and boys get older in their elementary school years. They can be exposed to the pain the world can bring on. Bullies and Mean Girls are rearing their ugly heads. You just want to rip their ugly heads off for hurting your child, but you’re the role model and you must handle things in an adult manner. You can’t stand to see your child feeling sad or left out.
Once your child hits middle school, they are very aware of any public display of hand holding or hugging their parents or having any motherly sentiments overheard by their friends. You know it’s normal, but still feel the sting of losing your little baby in yet another way. You now notice that the swing set in the backyard has been abandoned and the swing moves only because it is blowing in the breeze. Even the swing set is lonely.
The middle years are awkward. Your child may be your baby one day and the next they may feel they no longer need you. They may look like a fresh chubby bunny one year and the next they seemingly have grown a foot! It’s normal and you need to start accepting that your child is becoming their own person.
High School brings a whole other level of parenting. Now, your angelic child may be getting into things they shouldn’t be. You can’t believe it, but then we remember when we were once teens too. They are trying on new roles and fashions. Sometimes, cringy roles and fashions, but you are hoping the phase of caked on makeup and baggy pants moves on as quickly as it showed up. The fact is they are learning to find who they are in life. And through it all, you see those bright little eyes you met no so many years before.
High School flies by quickly as you look back on it, but when you’re in it, it feels like the longest mile you’ve ever run. You pray your child will make the right choices and keep it together to graduate successfully. You hope they have survived the high school drama and social media bombardment. You prepare yourself for the next stop, your child’s adulthood. You might feel sad but are excited for the kids to see what’s on the next page of life
No matter what season of life you are in with your children or even if they have left the nest, Back to School time conjures up the catalog of memories and emotions. If you do still have children at home, it’s never too late to document these years. You won’t regret having the memories to look back on. Here are some ideas on how to preserve the memories.
Preserving your Child’s School Memories Forever Now
Pics and Videos:
Take a picture every first day and last day of school in the same location (preferably) For the first day, have child hold a sign with grade and year on it.
Video child on first and last day of school. You can ask them their name, age and grade. Also ask them what they are excited about for the coming year and any challenges they see.
Do a photo shoot of your child wearing a t-shirt with year they will graduate. The size of the t-shirt should be the size of the child when they graduate. The pictures will then show how much they have grown.
Interview your child every year. Do this both in written form and on video. Ask them to tell you about themselves. What their favorite subjects are, who their friends are, what they like to do, any sports or hobbies, the best book they have read, what do they want to be when they grow up etc.
Have a special tradition to mark the first day and last days. Examples: Pancakes on the first day of school and ice cream after the last day of school.
Put happy notes in their lunch.
Celebrate National Doughnut day and stop for doughnuts before school.
Keep a Journal:
You keep a journal of your child’s milestones, but also everyday things and funny things said. You don’t have to write a lot but capture a snippet of each day.
Save report cards, notes from teachers, awards, meaningful paperwork/schoolwork and artwork your child has made. Be choosy on what you are keeping because you can get overwhelmed with paper very easily.
Each year, secretly, have each teacher sign the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” at the end of the year. Save this for a surprise graduation gift for your child.
Compile thoughts teachers, coaches, scout leaders etc by sending them a form to complete. Make a book out of the thoughts and advice for your graduate
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.