Making memories…It wasn’t until lately, that the idea of taking less footage of moments and instead just enjoying them real time, bothered me. I felt that way too for awhile toward what seemed like obsessive picture taking…until I realized, how much do you remember when you were 5? How about before you were three? Because that is the age of my youngest.

Memories with MommyHe loves his big brother very much, and out of all of us, his big brother has quite the affectionate forbearance for him. When Taylor is angry, our little guy goes right up and consoles him saying “It’s okay Taylor. You alright Taylor?” while patting Tay’s head. When Taylor does something good, he cheers for him. He gives him high fives in celebration. Taylor shrugs off our little guy’s yelling at him and scolding him, he puts up with his typical terrible two’s three’s behavior. He loves giving him hugs and kisses, much to the chagrin of the three year old little terror 😉 . I will remember these forever. But, will he?

He is three. What do you remember from three? I remember pretty much, nothing. Taylor won’t be with us forever, and as our little guy grows up, how do we keep a record to remind him how he felt? Our Taylor is getting older, and we work desperately to push back that dreaded moment, when he moves into a group home, even if it is just for one extra day with us. It will happen; and when it does, those fond memories in our little guy’s heart, of all the good times and connections made together, will begin to fade as do all our memories. The core may remain, but the details won’t.

An Aside:

I am taking a little aside here, to address the idea of a group home. I don’t want to hear people’s unsolicited criticism of our decision on a group home vs. living with siblings or even the timing of his transition. I don’t want to hear the bragging that their child will remain with them, as one commenter said “until they have no breath left in them”, under the guise of judgement of our decision, and using it to highlight their presumed superiority.  Some people mean well, are just looking for clarification, and are just pointing out the difference in choices, but these people are few and I find it very unlikely that statements regarding the commenter’s opposite decisions are completely free of judgement. I disagree with many parenting decisions and styles, but unless they directly affect me, I just stay quiet.

There will be a time when taking care of their brother is neither fun nor easy:

We are aware that a time may come when our kids feel less connected with Taylor, especially if he isn’t living with us. So, I have made it a point, to keep my camera out, and document every second I can. Because in the moments when frustrations boil over and tears and disconnect rise, the pictures and videos will serve as a vivid reminder of the love felt deep down. They will serve as a witness that their brother has a good heart and a loving spirit. These are good for us as parents as well. For when the pinches come and the swings flail our way, as we see a teeth-gritted angry scowl, we will have these recorded moments to soothe our souls and keep them from succumbing to the thoughts that say he hates us. They will remind us as well, that the anger and frustration we see is just a shell hiding the true loving and kind spirit in our boy.

It still comes out a lot of the time. So when it does, I will pull out my phone married to my hip, and click and record away. I will be that parent who shamelessly snaps picture after picture at the park, when many parents may look on and think I am missing out. I am preparing for the future. I want a digital version of the old photo albums and VHS home videos so large a couple computers with terabytes and terabytes of storage will be filled to capacity.

People who scoff at parents who seem to miss the memories for the sake of recording them need to think twice. You don’t know the story behind the lens. Children or parents may have little time left here on Earth, or families like mine are trying to preserve the love of siblings to serve as reminders and encouragement for their spirits in times of struggle or as memories begin to fade.memories in the bath

I want my son and daughter to be able to look at these pictures and videos and see and remember that special bond and relationship. Because, how much to you remember when you were three? How much do you remember of past friends or beloved pets when you were that old? Just imagine the loss when it is about a sibling. Would you give anything to hear their voice or see their face just one more time?

We want to make vivid visual memories to last long after we are gone:

memories blowing bubblesWhen my husband and I are gone, our other two children are all our son has left. Watching over his care and making sure they are a part of his life will become more difficult. They may marry, have kids, and pressing jobs. These pictures and videos are the best effort I have to kindle that flame for their brother when I am gone. (Obviously, we will be doing more in the present in how we raise our children and not just rely on digital photos to do the heavy lifting.)  As time goes by, our kids will change and grow. And, I will shamelessly document it all because….How much do you remember when you were three?

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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3 Comments on Making Memories, One Picture at a Time

  1. Hi Sarah,
    Firstly, your kids are gorgeous! They look so happy! Testament, no doubt, to your love and care. As the mother of a son with multiple disabilities (Down’s, autism and bipolar) I commend you on your honesty. Our family made the difficult decision to seek alternative care for our firstborn son when we were no longer able to provide for his needs. Definitely, one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make. Just want you to know that the love and care you have for your family shines through strongly in your words and images. Wishing you well in your life’s journey!

  2. Thanks for the beautiful post. I have thought about how important it is for my children to have younger photos of themselves. I had not considered how important it would be in the future, in reminding family members of the loving connection there had been. Something to cling to when emotionally wraught and wondering if there was ever any. Thanks again.

    • Thanks Tiffany! I just know that there is a good possibility that as his siblings grow, they might go through the “my brother is so not cool” stage, or even feel embarrassment and resentment. His brother and sister are loving amazing siblings and people, but just in case. Also, if we have to move Tay to a group home, I know my husband and I will remember these sweet moments between our three year old and Tay, but will he? He is three. We want a record to show him how much his brother meant to him. These are also a great way to give feelings of hope when the times are the darkest.

      Much love!
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