There is a fireproof safe that sits in the closet of my wife and my bedroom. It’s an expensive safe; 10 years ago, I spent almost three grand on it. It is, aside from my children themselves, by far the most important object in our home. And the kids have no idea what it contains.
Technology has changed what we consider to be a keepsake. Pictures and videos (of which we have thousands upon thousands) are saved and backed up in multiple locations, so in the adage “your house is burning, what do you grab” had made the standard answer of ‘photos’ all but obsolete.
One of the great ironies I enjoy in my life is that I have this rather expensive safe, and it’s contents probably don’t ammount to more than a hundred bucks.
When my first son was born, my wife had the idea of building him a ‘childhood memory box’, which we would give him at some far off date; his marriage, perhaps, or the birth of his first child. I can still tell you the first items we placed in the box… the little bracelet that was around his foot in the hospital, and the tiny (he was only 4 pounds) little Brett Favre onesy he wore home. The collection has grown over the years, and boxes have been added for my other two children.
It really is a collection of (from a monetary point of view) worthless clutter. First pacifiers, baby teeth, little envelopes with bits of hair from first haircuts, awards, souvineers from vacations. Notes from teachers, report cards, videos (conensed to dvd in the interest of space since then). There are newspapers from important events. Toys forgotten. A collection of sundries that to anyone else, would be worthless. To us, however, they are priceless and irreplacable; thus, the safe.
It isn’t an original thought; really nothing more than an extended time capsule. But while it will no doubt mean the world to our children when they recieve them, they have meant as much , if not more, to us. Each box is 24′ by 24′ by 36′. 12 square feet. We decided in the begining there would only be one box per child, as we felt it would lose it’s signifigance if there was too much of it. So over the years, we have been almost agonizingly picky about what went in, sometimes deliberating for weeks as to weather a specific item should go into ‘the box’.
It gives you a perspective; reminds us how important those minor details and memories are. We never look in the boxes, other that what we see in a glance when we add a new treasure. When they go through them, we will share the experience with them.
I recommend this for any parent. As fast as life has become, this is a way to slow it down, at least in some small fashion, for what is truly important.
Published in: Family