Preserving Memories With a Memory Journal

Preserving memories with a memory journal
By contributing writer, Victoria:

I’m the type of mom who is insistent on preserving memories whether that be through photos, hanging on to special mementos or archiving keepsakes. The problem is I’m not so good at keeping on top of organizing or archiving those said photos or keepsakes.

I have so many photos stored on my phone I desperately need to backup. I have a huge pile in the office with a mix of papers, art projects, special outfits that I would like to keep all in a disorganized pile.

I have dreams and aspirations to someday get it all organized and stored in cute little bins for each of my children. Someday I will sit down and sort through all my kid’s art projects. Someday I will organize, back-up and delete all the digital photos. Someday I will finish those baby books. Someday…

While I would love to think that one day my children will be grateful I kept a few special items from their baby days, the reality is that most of the keepsake items I am keeping are probably for myself because I’m sentimental. I don’t want to forget these precious days when they were little. I want to remember certain events and I want to share with my children about those special days.

One way that I do that is through keeping a memory journal for each child. A memory journal is just that — a journal to record memories, special dates, milestones, events and other stories from my heart. It’s a no-frills way to capture those moments you don’t want to forget.

A memory journal is different then a baby book because it’s not prompted and there are no lines to fill in about the price of milk or what specific date they lost their first tooth. All three of my kid’s actual baby books may have a little creative embellishment in them because I can never actually remember the exact date they did something for the first time. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

What is a Memory Journal?

A memory journal is just a simple notebook. It could be a standard notebook used for school or a pretty journal from your favorite stationary line. That’s it. There aren’t coordinating stationary or scrapbook cards to fill out, although you could certainly put them in your journal if that’s your cup of tea.

Basically a memory journal is a place to share your heart with your children in whatever way you feel led.

I write my children periodic letters about what is happening in our family during a specific time. For example, every year on their birthday I sit down and write how much they have grown, some cute or funny memories, my hopes for them. I also include milestones or what we are doing to celebrate their special day.

Most importantly, I write to them about Jesus.

memory journal 1
I write about my faith, how blessed I feel that God let me be their mother. I write about how I’m witnessing small seeds being planted in their own hearts. I write about how I pray those seeds will firmly take root, grow and develop into their own deep faith. These simple words are one way I’m leaving a legacy of faith for my children.

The Beginning Practice of Keeping a Memory Journal

When I was pregnant with my first I was given the advice to document my pregnancy by recording my thoughts when I found out I was pregnant, questions I had for the doctor, the baby’s growth developments inside my belly and his heartbeat rates. While I was doing that I found myself writing my son a letter about how excited we were to meet him. Then I recorded his birth story and wrote him another letter about how his entry into this world was an answered prayer.

I started writing him letters about once a month his first year including not only the fun facts of his development but also personal reflections of how I started a daily Bible reading time with him when he was only a few months old, and how I could soothe him to sleep by singing the hymn “Take My Life” over him. I also wrote out specific prayers I had for him.

When my son was only 11 months old, we found out we were expecting our second child and the feelings of excitement and anticipation once again poured out of me in the practice of keeping a memory journal for her. And of course I have now started another journal for my third child born in January.

How to Start Your Own Memory Journal

Starting your own memory journal is as simple as picking up a pen and piece of paper. You don’t need any fancy supplies or a themed baby book. All you need is a notebook and your favorite pens.

memory journal 2
Some might think it might be late to start your own journal if your kids are no longer little or maybe are already grown. My response it that it is never too late to record special events or to write heart-filled letters to your children. Even if you are not yet a parent, you can still begin the practice of writing out your prayers, hopes and dreams for the children you hope to have.

Ideas of What to Include in Your Memory Journal

There is no set list of rules of things to include in your journal, you can write about anything and everything. Here are a few ideas:

  • Dates of milestones, special events or special days you want to remember
  • Growth development numbers as your baby grows
  • Holiday celebrations, family traditions or gifts they received
  • Monthly updates of new things they are doing, or what they like and dislike
  • Personal reflections of how you are feeling as you watch your child grow
  • Letters to your child about what is happening in your family, how they are growing and the special bond that is developing between you two
  • Letters to your child about your hopes and dreams
  • Write out your faith journey for your children to read
  • Share the Gospel

There are a million different ideas of things you could write about in your memory journal. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t think yourself to be a writer either. Outside of you and your child, no one has to read this personal account. This is a special gift that the two of you can share together one day.

I don’t know when I will share my journals with my children but I do know that when they are old enough to write, I would love for them to start their own memory journals to record their special memories, dreams and prayers. I would love for them to begin the habit of recording some of their prayers as a keepsake in their own faith journey.

Do you keep a memory journal for you or your kids? What ways do you intentional preserve special memories?

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  1. I do keep memory journals for my girls, like how you described – I just recently started. Your list of what to include is very helpful! Sometimes I’m at a loss for what to say, especially for the baby (it’s easier to have “memories” of the 2 year old who talks and does funny stuff!)

    One thing I am still trying to figure out is how to work it into a regular habit to write. For awhile I had it on my daily to do list, but I took it off in the interest of feeling a little less overwhelmed each day… but now I forget! Maybe time to put it back on. 🙂

    1. Kelly one thing that has helped me be consistent in writing in mine is to write it down as a monthly task. I’m like you, day to day writing doesn’t fit well into my schedule but when I discipline myself to sit down and write at least once a month it seems more manageable.