The Memory Project

I’ve written before about my one-sentence journal, in which I write a micro-entry for each kid. The idea is to do it each night, but it’s usually more like three times a week, and that’s fine. The point of the single sentence limitation is to make the practice manageable. It also calls forth a little discernment to identify the most important nugget that I want to remember each day. It’s got a little bit of the Ignatian examen in it, actually.

Right now I’ve been putting them all into a single Moleskine volant notebook. It was what I had available when I started, and I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with it. That was in December, and I’m still going strong. I could keep buying new journals and continue as I have been, but I began to wonder about format and organization.

Does it make sense to have all three kids together in one journal? Or might each of them want an account of his/her life someday? I hope so, but I’m not sure. I would have loved to have something like this. As I think about my childhood, of course there are significant events I remember, but I wish I had more of a sense of the everyday flavor of our life.

Let’s face it: I don’t scrapbook, though I admire the art form. I’m pretty sad with photo albums in general. But writing… I can do that. I like the idea of giving a small stack of journals to my children as they become adults. Such journals would not represent “the facts” of their growing up so much as how their mother saw them day by day, year by year.

Another question: should I be typing them? I rejected this quickly. The one-sentence journal is the thing I do right before falling asleep, and I’m not thrilled with the thought of cuddling up with the laptop to do this. The lack of backup is a concern, but the aesthetic factor outweighs that. I have gone paperless in so much of my life that it’s a real counter-cultural thing for me to be writing by hand. But I do wonder how much longer we’ll be writing by hand.

I thought about buying three ten year journals, but ultimately decided to go with something more flexible. So I bought a few of these Eccolo journals. Caroline’s is a dragonfly, Margaret’s is a Celtic knot, and James’s is the tree pictured above. They’re small but packed full of nice quality paper.

So—this is my Memory Project. A one-sentence journal for each kid, completed a few times a week, more or less, for a period of years—more or less. Feel free to join me in this project, or share in the comments what kind of artifacts you hope to pass on to the next generation—your own children, or others.

6 thoughts on “The Memory Project

  1. susan

    fun!!!

    I can’t tell if you’re asking for advice here, but if you are, I think I’d get the 3 journals–one for each kid. I don’t know that I’d get all 10 year journal on it, though your mileage will vary.

    My reason for one per kid is that the comparison/competition factor would be gone.

    I would say I should do this for Selam, but I guess that’s what facebook is.

    Reply
    1. Rachel Heslin

      My main reason for being on FBook is to archive Cute Kid Stuff (especially since I discovered you can download all your posts, etc.)

      Reply
  2. Susan

    Hooray for handwriting!! Along with your words your handwriting makes these journals even more special to the children in years to come. I have a cookbook written by my grandmother. It is special not only for the recipes, many of which I will never make, but for her handwriting. A bit of her that is always with me.

    Reply
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