I realized something about myself while I was deflating a "Congratulations, Grad" balloon to put into my son's graduation memory book--yes, his party was in June but we have been testing the Party City claim that their balloons last a long time and they do. I am a memory hoarder. I cannot let go of one single, seemingly inconsequential picture, craft or event that pertains to my children. While I am certainly not suggesting that my son's graduation from high school was a mere blip on our radar screen, I seem to hold all things child-related with the same amount of intensity and a fervent need to hold the memory as a keepsake. For instance, I am certainly an anomaly amongst my friends when it comes to photo albums for my children as each of my children have a large number of albums with photos placed in chronological order, labeled with with the event and any anecdotical comments I may have had at the moment. I have never missed an event from birthday to classroom party...times four. Each and every memento brought home is either saved or photographed to be saved...times four. Interestingly or perhaps scarily, I can remember in vivid detail the situation or event surrounding the picture as well and those key dates that I am fearful of forgetting are written down in memory books...you got it, times four.
Braces on? I can tell you the date it happened. Taken off? Got that, too. From first haircut (with first cut locks saved, of course) to permit test, I have it documented in each child's book. I have been laughed at and mocked because, honestly, who in their right mind will care about the exact date that my youngest slept through the night, but I am terrified that I might. I simply need to remember these things to keep the memories safe.
This summer has been incredibly bittersweet for me because while I am happy to sharing this time with my children, my focus is on summer's end and my son heading off to college. Memories have taken over my thoughts and this enormous change in my family has me thinking about all the firsts he had taken and the firsts yet to come and the inevitable sadness that I feel that those new firsts will not be documented by me. Yes, I am fully aware that some of those firsts should not be documented at all.
One of my closest friends told me that while this will be a difficult summer because of the obvious countdown to his departure, once he goes, the focus will be on the countdown to his return and the new memories we will make. All I know is that I will be there happily documenting those times, memory hoarder that I am.