When my son Hudson was born ten years ago, like any new momma, I KNEW that I was going to document everything, not only through photos, but also in his beautiful baby book. I searched high and low for the PERFECT book. And when he was born, I dutifully filled it in.
When his brother, Finn, was born five years ago, I also searched high and low for the perfect book. I took my recommendation from Julia Roberts (i.e. the book she used according to the very factual internet) and purchased a beautiful oversized book with a wooden cover that I KNEW I would dutifully fill in with precision and care.
Um. Yeah. So, that did not happen. If I’m being totally honest – Hudson’s wasn’t dutifully filled in either. Both books had blanks and gaps and I resigned myself to just the photographs on my FB feed and (hooray for ChatBooks!) my Instagram page (follow me @ehunteratx!)
But, I’m not here to tell you about my baby booking failures…what I’m here to tell you about is the perfect alternative to a baby book. Something that will not only bring you joy, but will be a precious gift to your child and, maybe your entire family.
When my children each were born, my husband, Jared, unbeknownst to me, created an email account for each of them. From the day of their birth, he sent them emails. It was the most perfect gift from my husband. Sometimes the email documents a fun adventure they had. Sometimes the email contained a photo that he loved from that day. Sometimes it just said that he missed them when he was working. But, without fail, every email (that I have read) ended with how much he loves them and how amazing he thinks they are.
I only recently found out about these email accounts while going through his things after the wreck. It was the most heartbreaking, devastating, overwhelming and INCREDIBLE gift that my boys and I could have received after his tragic passing. And yes…it prompted the “ugly cry”…not just from our heartbreak of losing my husband and a father who clearly loved his kids so much, but because I was so, so grateful that Jared had the forethought to do something like this for our children.
My kids still do not know about these emails – but Hudson has 10 years of emails and memories from his dad, and Finn has 4.5 years worth. These emails and memories – written in real time – from Jared’s perspective – are irreplaceable and are such a perfect way to document their lives in a more personal way.
I have not read every email, and I don’t know if I ever will. I also don’t know when I will share these with my boys – but I can tell you what – Jared won this baby book thing and my kids will NEVER question how much he adored them – because he told them in writing…over 600 times.
The best part about this alternative baby book is that there is no specific format or day or time that you are supposed to do it…no blanks to fill in – you just email when you think about it…I am eternally grateful for this gift that Jared left to our boys (and me!) and I want to encourage you to do the same!
Even if your kiddo is already older – start now! These words will be something they care about far more than a dutifully filled out baby book.