Lone Dad: Document The Small Things About Your Children Growing Up Before You Forget
My son is now 10 and my daughter 8. It seems like ages ago when I could still scoop them both up under each arm without suffering from a pulled back! In some ways it is. In others...not so much!
When I look at the many photos and watch the old tapes, I can’t believe I use to mix formula for them, change their diapers and play with them in small tents we purchased from Ikea. I find myself teetering between two worlds -- the present, where I can have detailed conversations with them and the past, when Thomas The Tank Engine and tea parties dominated our days.
My parents told me this time would come...to enjoy the moments as they happened as "you will never get them back." They also reminded me that there will be more experiences ahead of us equally as meaningful as the first time I took each of my kids to school. In response to their advice, I have taken my camcorder and camera everywhere and backed-up my memories on the most up-to-date technology available. But I also did one more thing of which I am most thankful for.
I went 'low tech' and kept a small spiral notebook by my side too. Inside holds some of the classic lines my children uttered over the years. When my son tried to remark about an Octopus in a book that I was reading to him and called it an ‘Octodose’, I wrote it down. When my daughter told my son "I kinda find you annoying, but I love you a lot anyway," I wrote it down. And when the first Lego structure I ever built as part of a team with my kids resulted in a delightful squeal followed by the line, “Dad, we make a good team!’...I wrote it down. Imagine how much I would have forgotten or lost had I not.
Why be so archaic in my efforts to recall such times, you may ask? Simply put, a mixture of common sense and reality. The fact is, someday, I will be old and, most likely, I won't want to or may not have the ability to fuss with the high tech platforms I have stored the rest of my memories away on. But the ease and accessibility of a basic notebook, as feeble as I may become, I think a basic notebook, I can manage.
So, although, I hope for the best, I plan for the worst. Either way, I get my memories with the opportunity to add more as I see fit. It's a solution available and affordable by all -- one worth mentioning as, no doubt, your precious moments are just as important as mine.
Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest ones!
Joseph Bango is President of Connecticut Analytical Corporation, and is both engineer and research scientist. Mr. Bango is also founder of Connecticut Kids First, a children’s organization working on State & Federal Child Protection legislation, and regularly collaborates with the office of the Child Advocate and the Connecticut Commission for Children. He is also a licensed foster parent with the Department of Children & Families.