Guest Post by Helen Spencer of SaveEveryStep.com
My eldest son turns 12 next week. My millennium baby has managed to suck up 12 years of my life without me hardly noticing the time pass.
I imagine my own parents felt the same way about me when I turned 12, or 21, then 40.....
As a 12 year old child, my interest in my parents was minimal, to put it politely. (Here is the slightly less polite version). I continued to take a nonchalant disinterest in their lives and stories throughout my childhood years and on into my teens. I saw them as historic. Ancient. Irrelevant.
This (at best) apathy, (at worst) mild contempt went on until I became a parent to the aforementioned Millennium Boy at the age of 32. At this point, I developed a sense of my own responsibility and awareness of my mortality which gave me the ability to recognise that my parents were real people, with real lives who had dutifully nurtured me for so many years.
The defining earthquake, however, arrived as an earth-shattering TEN on the Richter Scale in April 2006 when my mother went and died.
I finally wanted to know everything there was to hear about her life as a young woman, how she met my dad, her days at school, growing up in World War II Britain, her boyfriends, the fashions, her mistakes and her triumphs. But it was simply too late.
Stupid, stupid me.
I had spent countless hours researching our family tree's dead 'uns, without a moment's thought about the most precious people of all - those who were standing right beside me.
So, what of it?
Well, I ain't dead yet.
My disinterested, contemptuous, apathetic children WILL have my stories preserved as a legacy for their future. I WILL capture each and every moment of their growth in a set of embarrassing photographs. I WILL spill my guts about the highs and lows of my existence in my narrative for them. I WILL leave them with the gift of memories.
So, assuming you ain't dead yet either (and not reading this from the Other Side), do yourself a favour and give the ancient historical family members a rest for a few days. Turn and concentrate on the living. Do the leg-work for the next generation and create a vault of your contemporary family memories so that they won't have to.
There are plenty of resources out there to help you, but for something different, try www.SaveEveryStep.com - you can lay out your life memories on a chronological timeline in words and pictures, and it's free to use.
You can find more weekly Blog doses of family nostalgia and the serialisation of letters home from World War II by following this link.
Please feel free to share this blog post with, like, everyone you know. And then?
Share it with everyone you don't know. If you want.