I had a conversation with my youngest the other day that shocked me a little bit. He is 15, the youngest of four, and I realized he knew NOTHING about his grandparents; neither my parents nor my husbands parents. It was particularly shocking because his proclamation included that he believed both sets of his Grandparents had died in a car accident. “WHAT” I proclaimed! How could he possibly think this? I LOVE history, we talk about family history a lot (or so I thought). He can even tell you how we are connected to the Richmond Castle in England. Had he ignored my stories and tales of his Grandparents? Perhaps he had a dream that took over his understanding of the family history I shared with him? I honestly thought I was pretty good about telling little stories about my parents and even grandparents now and again. There are family pictures all over my house and pieces of family history. But it seems I have not been nearly as good as I thought. Or perhaps the reality of what grabs his attention and holds it isn’t as good as my optimistic view of it. In this age of technology, we are all constantly challenged by social media, memes, etc. As all parents, I too am pulled in several directions while caring for my kids. School functions and studies, sports, friends, any and all extracurricular activities, and still trying to maintain a happy home amongst the everyday chaos that goes on!! Life just isn’t as laid back as it used to be for parents of today’s generation!
I am jealous of the young mothers today. Here is the reason why…
Posting and sharing all the days activities with their children is easy with today’s technology. Journaling those things are SO much easier today than they ever were for my generation or those before me. Creating permanent memories that are so permanent and accessible are great, and with the help of Facebook reminding us of memories from a year ago! Meanwhile, my generation of parents have actual photographs. If we are lucky, most are in color with a high pixel image and a hand written, detailed short story on the back side to aid in our memory. Today, Social media such as Facebook and Instagram help today’s generation document events in their lives. No reason for a hand written explanation of their existence. It’s nothing short of amazing! Today a Grandma or Grandpa can see what is happening on the SAME day it happened.
As the youngest of four, I got the raw end of the deal as it pertains to pictures in our family. Mom told me later “I had no time for professional photographs by then, I was too busy raising four kids!” I’m pretty sure this is how I ended up with four. Just so she could look down from heaven and giggle as she watched me struggle all these years raising my four children as she did.
All of this brings me to the point of this article. This Mother’s Day, make a plan that will outlive the day. Find a fun and perhaps a unique way to share something special about your own Mother or Grandmother and even yourself to share with your children. Something that will last in their memory as if it were a reminder on their social media outlets.
Here is a list of some ideas that I hope will inspire you to pass on what really matters.
- Start a Mom journal - share memories of you, your mom and/or Grandmother for your kids to be able to read one day. It can be specific memories or just sharing what motherhood meant to you. How it changed you.
- Write a fun or important specific memory in your card to your Mother, Grandmother, or even a daughter whom is now a mother. And don’t forget the Daughter In Law that is raising your grandchildren!
- Make a book with both photos and stories of your memories of your Mother and Grandmother. Today there are all kinds of companies like Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc that will let you put your photos and stories into a hard covered keepsake book. It has never been so easy to do! But you also don’t need to get extravagant can also do this for much less with a binder and paper.
- Write a story about a specific item in your family that was passed onto you by your mother or grandmother. Maybe you have Grandma’s wedding dishes, your mother’s ring or a special dish they always ate at the dinner table. My kids know the syrup container that we use every Sunday for French Toast was the same one my mom used when I was a kid. And the chipped turquoise Fiesta Bowl that I mix the egg batter in is the same one my mom used as well.
- Make a recipe book. Pass on the most special recipes to those you love.
- Take Mom or Grandma for a ride into the neighborhood where she grew up or has significant memories and have her share some stories. Then write them down when you get back so they are not lost forever. Or take along somebody that can video the conversation so you have the permanent record.
- Do a “LIVE” 23 & Me! The popular thing to do now is have your DNA tested for your Ancestry. But you don’t need to spend $100 to share your genealogy! Start or share your basic genealogy tree. After my son revealed how clueless he was about his grandparents (whom had all passed before he was born), he started to ask more questions. He asked me to write our basic family tree down on a piece of paper. Now, I must point out that I have done extensive work on our family tree and I attempted to get that book out to share it with him. But he stopped me and said, “no, just write it right here and I will study it.” So I wrote my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents names down. I also wrote that my mothers grandparents came from Denmark so were full-blooded “Dane’s”. And I shared where the Irish roots of “O’Neil” came from on my father’s Mother’s side. Will he remember? I can’t say. But the memory we shared going through that was priceless to me!
As you may have noticed, these suggestions share a common theme. They cost little or nothing to do and are about sharing, making and keeping memories alive. I also made mention of writing these stories down. Not just verbally sharing them. But use video, write them down, or both! Because with so many things vying for our attention in our lives, it is easy to see how my son had NO clue what happened to his Grandparents. I can assure you I have spoken about them over the years. But either his age, his activity level, or a combination of both have prevented any sort of retention to my stories. Such is life for all of us.
I hope that these inspire you to take action and make this Mother’s Day one of your most special days. Memories are the most valuable gifts of all. When you take action this Mother’ Day to share with your family, and create a new memory, we want to hear from you!
Share with me what you did, how you did it, and how it affected your day!