Sometimes the hardest situations bring the best ideas, don’t they? Bear with me as I describe some sadness to share a new tradition we just started in our family.
This summer our babysitter’s father passed away. It was heartbreakingly tragic and sudden. The funeral, however, was inspiring and beautiful.
Because her father had served as headmaster of a Christian school for years, they had excellent video footage of him. In it he described the best thing he could give his children: to set them up to have a solid walk with Christ. Seeing this godly man, hearing his humble, genuine voice… It was powerful. As tears filled my eyes I thanked God that his five children and his wife had that video to watch over and over and over.
If you’ve lost a loved one, you know that one of the things you miss most is hearing their voice. It has been seven years since I lost my own father and one of the things I miss most is hearing his comforting voice telling me everything’s going to be okay because I can trust the Lord. As I’ve also lost my father-in-law, I deeply regret that I can’t hear him call my baby girl “Pretty Girl” as he called his other granddaughters.
This Christmas, I sat with my husband in the ER, knowing that it is not a guarantee that we will grow old together. Thankfully he is okay, but the realization remains. As parents, we want to leave as much evidence of our love for our children.
My ponderings of this were interrupted with the fact that my son’s fifth birthday was quickly approaching. The collision of these resulted in the beginning of a new tradition for my family: video birthday cards. Travis and I have decided that for each child’s birthday, we will record a video pouring in identity and telling them how deeply we love them. We believe this will be a blessing to them while we walk this Earth, and beyond. Anyone who knows me well knows I am pretty MIA on social media. However, I have to admit, technology has some redeeming value for memorializing our lives, and this is a great way to do it!
Here are some tips:
- Before you start, make a bulleted list of the points you want to hit upon.
- It’s a clip, not a movie. Try to keep it between 1-2 minutes.
- Make sure you focus on the best qualities you see in your child. This should be mostly character traits--not just what they “do” that you love.
- Try to include a funny or important anecdote about them from this year.
- Include your husband if possible.The goal is for your child to feel as loved as possible!
- Perhaps mentioning their favorites (movies, games, foods, etc..) or activities at the time would be fun.
- Consider ending with a verse or hope you have for them for the coming year.
Mostly I think it just needs to be natural and simple… otherwise it will be a tradition that is not followed through with. Share your heart and your love. That’s it.
I anticipate Everett looking back at his videotapes when he is a teenager and saying, “Mom and Dad, you really knew I was a comedian when I was three?!?”
And won’t Ryder’s future bride be interested to know that he could kiss me a hundred times a day and still want “one more!”?
I’m excited to play Lincoln’s “cards” for him when he is a new father. Will he remember that he has always been crazy for babies?
May this simple effort prove powerful for years to come, for my family and for yours!