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Time Capsules of my Children

June 6, 2012

Written by Marykate Wurster, mom of 3, from Riverside, Connecticut

It started with the baby clothes, the smocked dresses and shortalls. The tartan plaids from Christmas followed and then jumpers and rompers. The pink infant clothes small enough to fit the baby dolls my daughters used to play with, now forgotten in a corner of the playroom. Dresses with dainty flowers embroidered on the front or others with monograms like initials carved in a tree.

And then I moved onto the Dora doll. The doll I once cursed for peeking out from a chubby arm in every (yes every) family photograph, who accompanied us on vacation, was tucked in at bedtime, and even snuck in a bag on the first day of preschool. The colors are faded, her outfit long discarded and lost, her hair matted and yet loved as only a child can love such a priceless item. This Dora is carefully folded away with heirloom dresses and silver rattles.

I have saved books with notes I wrote on the front page about what child loved it and why. There are arts and craft projects and handmade notes, mother day gifts and poems. I tell myself I am saving the clothes for them, for their own children to wear one day or so they can read these books to their kin. And perhaps they will.

But I know with every article of clothing, every masterpiece, there is a remnant of my child on each one. Like a sleuth looking for clues someday I will peruse these projects and like fingerprints rising from the paper, find my children. I will open a book and see a four year old boy snuggled in bed next to his mother reading Puff the Magic Dragon. Or lift a corduroy romper and watch a baby crawl for the first time.

What lingers, what remains and what I have collected like a museum collects art or an archeologist collects artifacts are memories, marked and tagged. Memories filed away to be rediscovered, mini time capsules of my children.

Who else saves baby items? Any advice on how to best store the arts and craft pieces? After time the little dears don’t hold up too well.

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  1. Heidi Farmer

      on June 6, 2012 9:40 am

    I still have my own box at my dad’s house in Colorado. Every time I’m there we whittle it down a little bit more. It’s crazy to open the lid and see all those memories.


  2. Marykate Wurster

      on June 6, 2012 1:01 pm

    How fun – it really takes you back! I have to laugh because Maggie takes after me and has 2 bins in her closet – things like her sunglasses from the “moving up ceremony” and birthday cards from her friends. Between the 2 of us we are like hoarders!


  3. Anne Schenendorf

      on June 6, 2012 2:03 pm

    Lol- by definition, you are not a hoarder. A hoarder saves things without value whereas memories are the most exquisite valuable things you can have other than those moments and people themselves. Reading this this morning I looked over at my little guys and it made my heart ache realizing how fleeting it all is and wishing I had saved much much more. Ziplocks are an idea for storing papers but like Heidi I like the good old giant plastic container. Married with babies I have yet to go through mine. I remember vivdly trying to go through it in my twenties and never completing the process… I remember that it brought back sooo much and am sooo grateful I have it. I still save rare memorable cards and value them just as much. 😉


  4. Joanne Schenendorf

      on June 6, 2012 2:24 pm

    MaryKate your thoughts are expressed so beautifully!! I am a saver as well, and saved lots of books , toys and a very few items of clothing from my kids, one of whom is now the daddy of the babies mentioned in Anne’s comment above. It would be crazy to save everything… and i know you both give tons away to charity which is great. Others less fortunate should get use out of clothing and toys. But saving some things pays off; as now when my son comes over with his babies and I show him his old toys , I know he is tickled to see some of this stuff and let his kids play with them!! When they spend more time here I will be reading all the books that were their Dad’s and Auntie’s favorites and I know it will make me cry… in a good way!!!


  5. Joanne Schenendorf

      on June 6, 2012 2:26 pm

    Advice when saving drawings, cards, even quotes( gems that the kids said) … write down the dates and ages of the child on the back!!!


  6. Marykate Wurster

      on June 6, 2012 3:41 pm

    I did that! I keep a notebook in the kitchen called “from the mouth of babes” that I scribble things in when I get a second. I do give a lot away to charity – we all simply have to do that. And then there are the things that I cant tear myself away from. Ronald loved these teddy bears and I see them in photographs and hope I put them in a bin somewhere for him. Sigh. Sentimental sap I am.


  7. Marykate Wurster

      on June 6, 2012 3:47 pm

    Anne, you can save the twin’s frogs, their baby blankets. You still have time! I will convert you to hoard too :)
    Ziplocks are a great idea. I have newspapers from the day everyone was born too that I need to do something with. A looming project for me – organizing all their art stuff and projects, and preserve them. That would be a great cottage industry for someone – go to peoples houses and do that for them!


  8. Cara Curley

      on June 6, 2012 4:06 pm

    MK- I have a friend who makes these beautiful box and books. She made me a small journal type book with Aidan’s name on it so I could document all of the crazy stuff he said. All of her stuff is hand made and acid free. Attaching the web page for your reference


  9. Marykate Wurster

      on June 6, 2012 5:13 pm

    Yay! Cara, thank you so much for posting this – checking it out now!!


  10. Anita Bausman

      on June 6, 2012 9:50 pm

    Wow, I am Queen of HOLD ONTO EVERYTHING!!!!! So sentimental about every new step, year, school, tooth……..I have been keeping my kids art work in large bins throughout the year and then weed through them at the end of the school year. Also my friend takes baby clothes and makes quilts out of them!!! Something to keep forever and not have tons of boxes! they are beautiful.


  11. Tara

      on June 7, 2012 12:08 am

    Love your words!!!


  12. Marykate Wurster

      on June 7, 2012 6:27 am

    Anita, love the quilt idea – that is precious. Someone in NY / CT? I always think of you and the baby gap striped pjs! I so get it!
    Tara – thanks!


  13. Anne Schenendorf

      on June 8, 2012 10:13 pm

    Oh, how I’ve thought of those baby gap striped 0-3 month pj’s. I loved those. Ours were blue. I love the quilt idea. Brilliant. It makes me want to learn to sew. That makes me feel better MaryKate. You’re right, I can save froggie and Raffe. I can’t wait to check out the journals on that site! Thanks for the great info. I will be definitely starting a log of From the Mouth of Babes. Mom, you are so sweet and the babies are so lucky to have you. :) As parents, you have taught us well to give lots of love and just to be present always. The babies and Greg and I are better for it…


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