I spent over an hour yesterday standing in front of my scanner, one of many to come. Years ago my mom gave me shoe boxes full of letters that she would write to my grandmother. I put them aside, not really giving them much though until recently. Mom passed away and anything that had to do with her was frankly just too hard to think about. Just seeing her handwriting started tugging at my leaky eyes. It was rather entertaining to read through them as I worked. I started in a random year (the first box I pulled out) and found that she would literally write about the day to day things that were going on in our lives. Some of it swiftly triggered memories, others I pondered on how I could forget.
Mom was always very involved and very craft oriented. We were all (I have 3 sisters) in the Girl Scouts starting at the Brownie level, I even found Mom’s official girl scout membership card, circa 1956. She goes on to detail various crafts we made, talks about clothes, birthday and Christmas gifts, and things of a general mother nature. At one point she discusses with my grandmother the virtues of making me wait for my ears to be pierced. I had pestered her since age 8. She insisted I had to wait. It was almost word for word a conversation I would later repeat, often, with my own daughter. I didn’t realize how much it really stuck with me. Really, it is an interesting journey to travel back to your own childhood.
I wondered, in this digital age, what I am leaving for my own kids. Digital cameras weren’t around when my son was born, hell I had a pager when my daughter was born, and I am a horrible letter writer. (Seriously challenged in that area) I knew my lack of correspondence was poor that I always typed up a 4 page Christmas letter (with pictures) and sent it out once a year, but even that has fallen by the wayside in the last few years. Now all of my own news is issued via emails and facebook.
And then it dawned on me. Mom made certain we always had a video camera. The husband and I started our own business prior to the children, but for those lean years money was always an issue. Mom understood that, and reading the letters I see it is something all young parents go through. Her gift to my children was their childhood in living color, with sound. They may not have boxes of letters from me, but they will have hours upon hours of home movies. My husband started converting them all to DVD last year. The cameras are all now obsolete, and the ability to watch them without dvd access rapidly moving that direction. He spent hours and hours dedicated to this task, and I was happy he did it. I don’t think I really understood how much until last night.