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    E-Mail Your Kids

    03.01.2016 / FAMILY

    When Bee was a baby, I’d sit down during her naps and write long-winded letters to her: personality peeks, successful milestones, my own parenting fears/doubts/triumphs. It was a beautiful practice, and I always imagined bundling them up to offer her on the day she’d perhaps decide to become a parent, too. (Some are here, if you’d like to read!)

    But as she grew older, the system didn’t work. There were so many memories I wanted to keep private – sacred – and I started writing blog posts I’d never publish, then later lose track of. So instead, I got into the habit of sending two-second emails to myself when she’d say something funny or sweet that I’d want to remember.

    Eventually, those mini emails piled up in my own inbox and as I began to sort them into folders, I thought: Why not just email them to her directly?

    I set up a Gmail account for her and – boom – a virtual time capsule was born. Just yesterday, I scrolled through a few favorites and found this one from last November:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Erin Loechner <[email protected]>
    Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 5:32 PM
    Subject: Sick

    You: Hey mom, I think I feel a little sick.
    Me: Like how?
    You: Like a dinosaur.
    …and then you threw up. ;)
     ———- End message ———-

    So far, it’s been a way easier system to maintain than scrapbooks, blog posts, or even Instagrams. It takes two seconds to shoot off a funny memory to her, and everything’s in one private place (Which is handy, because my gut tells me that email will stick around – in some form or another – far longer than the various social media accounts I’m often reliant on to document these days).

    Tell me, how do you keep track of the things your kids do/say that make you smile? Would you ever set up an email address for a toddler? It’s bizarrely worked so well with us!

    • It’s a sweet idea that Bee will cherish all her life.

    • Katie

      My mom kept a journal for me that I never knew existed. After she passed away in 2011, I found it while clearing out her closet. It was the most beautiful surprise.

      I am a mother now, and not only do I refer back to my mom’s letters regularly, but I started my own journal for my little girl. I don’t know if this system will last forever, but I do believe that someday she will treasure all of my randomly-scrawled notes. If/when my journal system fails me, email sounds like a fantastic alternative! Great idea, Erin.

      • oh goodness, katie, what a treasure she left you. i’m so sorry for your loss.

        and what a gift you’ll have for your own little girl as well! i can only imagine how much she’ll love reading your heart for her. :)

    • This is brilliant! I’ve been feeling so bad that I haven’t kept up with her baby book and I’ve been trying to think of a doable task to write down and keep the memories. This is a great idea!

      • oh i’m so glad you can use the idea, candace! :)

    • Jenny

      My husband created an e-mail account for our daughter when she was born and he sends her e-mails quite regularly. He most often sends short videos he’s taken of her, or us, or things we do, and sends those to her. I am a scrapbooker, so I often say this is his form of creating a scrapbook for her. She’s four now, and it is SO fun to see all the emails she has from us, saved up for her.

      • oh i LOVE that!!! i’m thinking of sharing her email address with some close friends/family as well, just to get a fuller scope of memory-making. i can only hope it will be such a treasure for these littles!

    • I think this idea is brilliant. The privacy aspect is most appealing. I have a love/hate relationship with blogging for that reason, and I often go months at a time without posting because of it. The older they get, the harder it is to share, knowing that they are becoming little people with personalities we must protect and ultimately whose privacy we must respect, no matter how badly we want to share with the world what they did or said. Thanks for sharing – this is a great compromise solution for those like me who struggle with posting on social media.

      • Right?! I have this EXACT issue with Bee. She’s her own person and I want to respect that boundary as she grows. I’m super protective over the info I share and have found myself emailing her stories directly far more than sharing them with strangers online. ;) For me, the line I draw is that I’m happy to talk about parenting without talking about parenting HER. You know? There’s a fine balance. :)

    • there’s a site called ‘Future Me’ where you can write a letter to yourself and designate a date in the future you want to receive it. You have to be able to verify your email. So theoretically you could email Bee 5 years from now. Or 10. And she will get this random email from you when she is actually old enough to be checking her email regularly!

    • hey miss erin … old school here :) my girl is 20 and i most often wrote the little stories/phrases/conversations on a memo note and tucked it into a box … they are still all there, nothing in the baby book yet … but i have it all … i also asked her thoughts every first day of school (once she got home) from kindergarten to 12th grade :)

      • i LOVE this idea!!!!! and there’s always something so special about the written word. :)

    • This is simply genius. I have a journal that I kept weekly for my oldest for the first couple of years and it’s such a treasure, but I couldn’t keep it up, especially now that I have 3.
      I tried to do it monthly, but when I sat down to write, nothing would pop out at me. A quick email right after the fact is brilliant. Thank you!

      • you’re so welcome, nicole – i can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to keep up with 3!! :)

    • I have an Evernote file that I keep for our boys, and it’s the same idea: 30 seconds for a lifelong memory. I have pages of anecdotes now. A friend told me at the beginning “you think you’ll remember, but you won’t,” and I’m so grateful to her because she is right!

    • Trina

      I love this idea!!!!! Thanks for sharing! xo

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