| Written by Ronnie |
I wrote this post five months ago, but wanted to share it again today, because ultimately, this is what it's all about. This is why I do what I do.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about why it is that memory keeping is so important to me and something I keep coming back to is this: I don't have many tangible keepsakes or memories from my own childhood. As a child, this was never an issue for me as I was too busy living my childhood. Since becoming an adult, however, I find that I have these memories floating around in my head of places that we visited when I was little and yet, for the life of me, I cannot attribute any specific or solid details to these memories. For me, this is disconcerting. Not that I dwell on it all the time, but I do find myself wondering sometimes whether my memories did in fact take place or whether they are somehow merely a figment of my imagination. I don't want this to be the case for my own children. In keeping a record of the places that we go to, and the people whom we meet up with, I guess I'm hoping to create a reference of sorts for the the boys - something solid for them to look back on when they're older and wanting to recollect specific information about their childhood. To me, this is important: a way of helping them to preserve a sense of self, a sense of family identity.
Secondly, there is no denying that Rick and I forget the things the boys say and do. When you're in the moment, you tell yourself that you're not going to forget something as funny or as special as that, but for us, the reality is that we almost always forget. I can't tell you the number of times we're lying on our bed late at night and we're both scratching our heads, going, "What was that thing that Angus/Pete/Jamie said today which we said we would remember and write down?" Journaling on their behalf allows us to bottle up some of that oh-so-precious innocence and naivety - relying on our memories alone simply wouldn't be enough to do their childhood justice.
Which leads me to my next reason (and this is a big one for me): our children grow up too fast. And the more children you have, the 'faster' it all seems to go by. I know that there are many families bigger than ours out there, but between our four boys, I feel like an entire lifetime is lived out in the span of one week: they say so much, do so much, create so much, change so much, and grow so much in one day - much less one week, one month, one year. By documenting their lives, I feel like I get to freeze moments in time, allowing me to go back later and to re-live them. It's like being able to press pause on a remote control, rewinding and pressing play once more.
I also want to preserve my own story. For my own sake, and for the boys' sake. This was largely why I decided to stop blogging at Pink Ronnie and to start writing at The Shoemaker's Daughter instead. I believe in preserving our family's story, and this includes my own story, my parents' story, and their families' stories. (I'm infinitely thankful that Rick's family's stories are already well documented.)
And lastly - memory keeping enables me to pause and to reflect. Whether it's sitting down to write about a moment, a conversation, or a day, or putting aside a couple of hours to organise my photos and to select my favourite ones for one of the boys' life albums, memory keeping forces to slow down, to be still, to block out the noise, to remember, and ultimately, to be thankful.
Over to you - why is memory keeping important to you?