Yesterday afternoon, as I was searching through the garage looking for a hat that I’m supposed to wear in a parade this morning, I came across a surprising find:

In a box in the center of the garage, buried underneath a down comforter and a bunch of paint supplies, were several old photos, a bag of my baby clothes, and two special books.

I know I must have seen these items at some point because I removed them from my mother’s hope chest and put them in this box. But for the life of me, I cannot remember ever having seen them before.

One of the books was my baby book. You know… the ones in which parents are supposed to record all the important events of their child’s life: first tooth, first word, how they celebrated their first birthday, a lock of baby’s hair, etc. There’s even a page on which to record the family tree.

My father had sworn on several occasions that such a book existed, but I swore that it did not.

Dad, if you’re reading this… you were right. I do indeed have a baby book.

The other book was my parents’ wedding book, or “Bride’s Book,” as it was called back then. Again, such a books were/are used to record important events from the wedding, such as who attended, what gifts were received, where the couple went on their honeymoon, etc. And there was a page on which to record the family tree.

I should be jumping for joy, right? I mean, who wouldn’t be thrilled at such a terrific find!

Well… I’m not jumping. The books are incomplete.

The Bride’s Book has a bit of information – a guest list (actually signed by the guests), a list of gifts, locations of the ceremony and honeymoon. There’s even a postcard with a picture of the wedding chapel. The family tree page, however, is blank.

And my baby book? Almost completely empty.

Yes, I understand how busy a new mother can be. It’s difficult to find time to take a shower and brush your teeth, much less fill out pages in a book.

But… wow. To say that I’m disappointed doesn’t quite cover it.

So, let this be a lesson to you, folks:

Fill out those baby books! Don’t spare the details in your wedding albums! Label your photos! And when your kids or grandkids give you those corny books about your life to fill in? DO IT!

DO IT because they love you and want to remember who you are.

You just never know when your time is up. Don’t put it off until tomorrow because… well… there might not be a tomorrow.

Oh, and in case you don’t hear from me for a few days, I’ll probably be catching up on some pages in my daughter’s (sorely neglected) baby book.

(See the sidebar for suggested items to help you tell YOUR story for future generations.)

P.S. That parade I mentioned? Check out the Elk’s Rodeo Days Parade today at 9:00 a.m. on KCOY, if you don’t have anything better to do – I’ll be riding with the DAR!

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth O’Neal
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