Amongst the teenaged journals, the hand-written letters, the birthday cards and the long forgotten post cards there is a large pink album. A childhood album that spans newborn to late primary school. There are empty spaces here and there, photographs used for school projects and never returned. Gap toothed pages echoing a primary school smile. But on the whole, it tells the story of my childhood. It amounts to maybe a couple of photos a year but it is enough to bring the memories flooding back.
I take dozens of photos of my kids. Conservatively, there would be thousands. But I seldom print them out. They live on my phone, my computer and social media. I wonder, in years to come, will my boys have access to these images? Will they have something to pore over, something to evoke long forgotten memories? Before the age of smart phones and computers, photographs were the things we saved from fires. The irreplaceable. Now we flood our immediate lives with images but how often do we think about preserving them? What cues will my sons have as adults to help them remember their childhood? What will those memories even be?
This month, as we enter the silly season, we are looking at creating memories and cherishing moments. The traditions, the rituals and the memories we make with and for our kids. How we create those moments. How we treasure them. How we capture them.
When I think back on my own childhood, my memories are mostly of my mother (yes, that’s her in the photographs, ridiculously and impossibly young). Memories of her cutting vegetables for dinner whilst watching the ABC with my sister and I after school. I think she loved Dr Who and The Mysterious Cities of Gold* more than we did. Memories of her taking us on adventures – she was always the mum who would happily climb a tree or sneak over a fence. Her attitude towards the rules was (and remains) one of flexible interpretation. I remember her making us extraordinary things. She crafted the cast of Fraggle Rock*, including a life-size Sprocket*, out of felt and fur and the sheer magic of her imagination. She also tried to make us eat and drink extraordinary things. She made kombucha tea back in the day, before the internet existed and could push its benefits. I remember willing school friends to ignore the large fermenting mushrooms that had taken up residence in our fridge. She baked sugar cookies with us each Christmas and pashka each Easter. The recipes sourced from clippings and carefully copied hand-written notes, kept in a vivid red folder smudged with flour. When anything terrible happened, I remember her holding me close and tight and telling me I was loved and special and wonderful things lay in my future. All of these memories are bound up in small daily rituals, family traditions and the doorway into memory that photographs provide.
Will my boys remember similar things? Will they look back on their childhood and consider it magical? I want that. I want it very much.
Each week this month we will post a small challenge about creating memories and cherishing moments. We believe both are so important. This week, we are thinking about the traditions we currently have in our lives and the traditions we would like to introduce. If that sounds like something you would like to do, you can download a worksheet to help you: Printable-Traditions Worksheet. The idea is to map out the rituals and traditions that you share with your family and friends. These things are the stuff of memories. If there are any gaps, you might like to think about bringing in some new traditions. We will have some ideas later in the month.
During November, we will be talking about how to take great photographs, how to store them and what to create from them. We will be talking cherishing the moments, getting out from behind the screen and being truly present. We will look at why tradition is important and some suggestions on how to create new ones within your circle. We also have our very first giveaway, courtesy of the beautiful Bree Naomee Photography. We can’t wait to share it all with you.
x Robyna*Explanation of eighties television references:
The Mysterious Cities of Gold: An eighties cartoon about the search for seven cities of gold. It mixed ancient South American history,archaeology, and science fiction and it was AWESOME. Go on YouTube it.
Fraggle Rock: Back when Jim Henson made everything on kids TV, this show was about a group of muppets that inhabited an underground world.
Sprocket: Sprocket was one of the characters in Fraggle Rock – a large English sheep dog who was always trying to convince his eccentric owner about the existence of the Fraggles.