I remember standing at the tip of a pier in Germany looking at the Baltic sea and I said to my friend:
“Oh I wish I had a camera.”
“You don’t need a camera, all your memories are always with you in your mind.”
I never forget this and she was right, I have not forgotten the way the sun hit the ocean and the beautiful colours that reflected in the ocean. Thinking back, I can almost taste the salty air and feel the salty water on my skin. A beautiful moment.
Yet sometimes I do wish I had a photo, some sand or a shell as a keepsake to share with my children.
Later on whenever I visited different places I started collecting small keepsakes – shells from the beach in Spain, autumn leaves from a park in England, a button I found in a café in France, a coaster from a pub in Ireland. Some of those keepsakes I still have with me and they travelled with me when I moved to Australia.
My four children often listen and are in awe about my stories from different countries. We bring out my keepsake box and each little item has a story. We have an afternoon together and travel down memory lane together.
As month and years go by we add keepsakes to our keepsake box, memories we make together as a family.
I remember the excitement of my first born and how careful I took his handprint on a piece of paper, now carefully cast in resin to last many years to come. I kept my second son’s umbilical cord clamp and I treasure it and when I hold it I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness just thinking back of the time when he was a little baby.
My daughters’ placenta is planted under a tree in our house and I made some beautiful keepsakes from her umbilical cord. I cast a small fabric piece from her first outfit and we share many stories of how she was such a chubby baby that she went straight into 00 size clothing as a newborn.
And with my last baby I went all out, beautiful placenta keepsakes, umbilical cord keepsakes and yes – breastmilk keepsakes. I felt incredibly sad at the times knowing he is my last baby, but by having keepsakes and creating keepsakes for myself and others helped me in so many ways.
And here I am, sitting in between boxes. Boxes I packed for our big move in December. Moving it seems is a good way of sorting the pieces you need and the pieces you don’t need. For me it is more like adding keepsakes to our keepsake box and the beauty is that we add those items together as a family.