In My Own Handwriting

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


During this carnival, you’re probably going to read a lot of warm, fuzzy posts about the amazing memories harbored from childhood or the ones hoped to be created in their children. Perhaps there will be some here and there that talk about wanting to create a better life for their own children. Mine… well, I struggle with memories. I love my family and the memories that are good, but I also recognize that the memories that I will never share with them have the power to make me very fearful.

My baby book is filled out in my mother’s precise script. Her journal has entry after entry with details about my milestones and our life. My brother’s baby book had almost nothing written in it. And it’s not because I was the first born, it’s because my mother was very ill when my brother was born and the detailed memories weren’t recorded for him like they were me. When I put together my youngest brother’s baby book, I pulled the information from my own journals and not my mother’s because she wasn’t recording things anymore.

Christmas brings the most vivid memories of my childhood to light: The stockings hanging on the staircase in our home on Maple St. Lighting the Advent candles Sunday afternoons after church while Dad read aloud from Luke 2. Sneaking around in my parent’s bedroom hunting for our gifts… unwrapping and re-wrapping so they wouldn’t know. My mom baking a cake on Christmas Eve so we could have it for breakfast the next morning.

Perhaps, I’m a little nutty about documenting our memories. I have scores of digital files neatly organized and dated, baby books carefully filled in for each child… including the date I discovered each tooth. I have stacks of journals from as far back as 1989. Each book written in my scrawling, haphazard penmanship is filled with the minute details of my life as a child, as a teen, as a college student and as an adult. I write lists and notes and save my calendars so I have a reference for my children if something happens to me.

In part, I write all these details down for myself. I’ll never get to share the fun things the kids say and do with my mother or my grandpa, but I can write them out for myself to read over and over. And when I’m old and gray and my memory isn’t as vivid as I wish it to be, I can flip to the appropriate book and find the answer to the question my daughter could be asking about her toddlerhood temper. Perhaps, her daughter will love the stories about her mama and will curl up in my bedroom to read. Regardless if I ever share my memories with others, regardless if anyone tries to decipher my handwriting, it’s written down. Nothing needs to be forgotten if we don’t want it to be.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.


17 Replies to “In My Own Handwriting”

  1. Oh yes! I used to unwrap and wrap back up my Christmas presents too; I thought it was only me and boy I felt so guilty; like God himself would come down at any moment and throw me in hell. But when I read it from you it made me smile, then laugh and I realise we were only kids doing what kids love to do.

    You have SO many details; I have virtually nothing – isn’t it funny how we are all so different? I can see you sitting in a favourite chair reading your favourite memories; it’s such as sweet picture. Thank you for sharing a bit about your life for this carnival 🙂

  2. This is lovely. I can so identify – detailing as much as I can, journaling, blogging letters to my daughter. I do it for her, for her children, for myself and my husband at 80. In my most vulnerable moments, I get teary over the thought of not holding on to every beautiful memory we have together.

  3. Beautifully written. I love going back and reading my old journals from when I was a kid. And this is exactly why I blog now, I want to record these moments to remember always. Its my memory keeper, when I can’t remember.

  4. I’ve always been an archivist, keeping journals and calendars and the like. I’ve finally had to let some of that go, because it was too hard on me (and our storage space!), but I understand the impulse. I wish I knew more about my parents’ lives before we were born, for instance, or my grandparents’. I feel too awkward asking for story after story, but finding a box of written memories would be a treasure trove.

  5. Oh wow! This is so beautiful that you were able to put together a baby book for your brother! I have several letters written in my mother’s own hand along with her journal from my first year. I could not imagine not having these. As a mother, it has been so precious to look back on these.

  6. I started out super eager, noting down every weighing of my first born, every word he acquired, and then in the whirlwind of my next two, I desperately tried to jot things down here and there, but was generally pretty useless. So I have few facts or figures about my girls, but I started blogging when my third was a small baby, so I have a lot of bigger, event type memories preserved which I am really glad about.

    I often wonder though what our children will inherit from us blogging mamas, how much of our online writing will be passed on in the same way as old letters and journals.

    Thanks for your post.

  7. I wonder if my efforts to document things will be appreciated. I hope they will. But my mother kept in a scrapbook every single birthday card I received for the first 5 years of my life. She passed it on to me and truthfully, I could care less about a store bought card from a friend I don’t even remember.

    I love what you did for your youngest brother. So thoughtful. I hope he appreciates it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *