I have kept an “email journal” since my children were small. Periodically, I would write an email to my parents and sister about my family’s activities, then I would print it out and keep a copy for myself. I’ve put about twenty years of journals into 3-ring binders. It’s fun to go back and read through them and remember some of the things we’ve done. I especially enjoy re-reading the funny things my kids said and did when they were younger. Here are a few examples:
October, 2004 (Margaret, 6 yrs)
Today the kids and I went to our new Walmart Supercenter for the third time since it’s grand opening, yesterday. I was trying on sunglasses and all of a sudden, Margaret started crying and yelling at me, “MOVE! MOVE! Go somewhere else!” I had no idea why she was so panicked. I asked her if she was feeling sick, or if she had to go to the bathroom. No. She was upset because she had touched a watch, and at that moment, someone over the loudspeaker said, “Call the police!” (Hayden said that they said something else with “please” in it. I didn’t hear it at all.) I tried to convince her that they wouldn’t call the police on her just because she touched a watch, but she wouldn’t believe me. She did calm down, though. When we got home, I suggested that Margaret take a bath before gymnastics, which she did. Hayden started playing a new PlayStation game that he had bought – a racing game complete with police sirens. When Margaret heard the sirens, she thought the police were coming for her, so she jumped out of the bathtub and ran to get dressed. Then she realized that the sirens were coming from Hayden’s game. I’ve been chuckling about this all afternoon!
June, 2005 (Hayden, 10 yrs)
You may have noticed that Hayden is drawn to anything electronic and technical. A few days ago he changed the ringer on my cell phone so that it clucks like a chicken when I’m getting a call. Yesterday I was sitting in the library looking at a magazine while the kids were watching a movie. The clucking started and people were looking around with the funniest expressions, trying to figure out where it was coming from. I suddenly realized it was my phone, grabbed my purse and hustled out of the library.
The email journal was an efficient way to keep in touch and preserve memories at the same time. I tried the scrapbooking craze, but found that it was a time-consuming and expensive hobby. This method worked better for me.
Steps to start An Email Journal of your own
- Write a newsy email about what you’ve been doing lately. Remembering to write periodically may be the hardest part. Frequency is up to you, but the more often you write, the more memories you’ll preserve.
- Send to its intended recipients.
- Print out a copy for yourself.
- Use either a 3-hole punch or plastic page protectors to put them in 3-ring binders.
- Include photos in your journal, optional. You can buy plastic sleeves for that purpose. This is something I wish I had done from the beginning.
It’s never too late to start. You may also want to include emails you receive from friends and family. Do you have a funny story to share?