Since I received some cool comments, questions and messages on my Facebook pages about our family’s recent tradition of having a memory jar, here is what it is all about. We simply set out an empty jar on the first day of the year. Through the year, each of us slips in little papers listing a favorite memory. Then on New Year’s Day, we open the jar and go through the memories. Such fun! I must admit that my family doesn’t embrace it as much as I do, but that’s OK. They don’t all put memories in the jar every year and this year, in fact, I was the only one who placed those little papers in the glass jar. They did in previous years, but this year was all my little notes, but the memories belong to all of us and that is what counts. And the end result is always the same. We go through each paper, we laugh, we remember and we are thankful to have that little jar go from empty to full in the 12 busy months that always fly by.
There are the sad and challenging memories from the last 12 months, too….but the jar isn’t about that. It is about taking one last look back at the previous year and remembering a day, a trip, an achievement, a moment that made us smile, laugh and reflect. I sure cherish those memories.
Then letting those slips of paper go and putting a once again empty jar on the counter is sort of a cleansing, a reminder that it is time for a new year with new goals, busy days ahead and to remember to make time to create more memories.
As we start our 2016 engines, rev up and head back out there into that part of life called time, that magical and sometimes stressful word that we can’t get back. I remember holding my newborn son 18 years ago and struggling with the thought of how I would balance a new baby and a busy career. My Mom told me that I would know the answers as I progressed through this new journey of motherhood, but to remember that the one thing we can’t get back is time. So true and such wise words. Every year brings joys and every year brings heartbreaks. Sometimes it is those moments in between that unexpectedly end up in the jar.
An example of that is the red slip of paper that says “Hot tub 7am w/ John” and a smiley face is also noted. On that day, we allowed our firstborn to drive his car on a road trip to California with friends. Two parent chaperones were also going (which is why we said yes) but we still felt our nerves get the best of us after he departed that morning at 6am. We both agreed that we couldn’t go back to sleep and that we were tempted to sit around and worry. So hubs fired up our brand new hot tub, made us morning cocktails (why not…it was our Spring break, too!) and we found ourselves chatting, laughing and enjoying the spa as we ventured through this next phase of parenting called letting go. We ended up having a blast that morning and when our daughter joined us an hour later, it just had to go in the memory jar.
So there are no rules to this memory jar thing. You can do it how you want to do it and you may find overwhelming enthusiasm or you may discover that only your handwriting made the jar. But the end result has been pretty consistent for us. We open that jar and laugh and my family especially loves to tease me upon discovering that I not only repeat myself verbally, but yes…more than once…on paper as duplicate memories made the jar! They think that is hilarious!
So give it a try if your family is inclined to try this tradition. And may your jar be full come next January 1st, 2017. Just think of the memories that can be made in the next 365 days!
Happy New Year!