Throughout my life, there was one gift that remained consistent during Christmas. It was a gift my brother, sister, and I expected. And though we knew what that flat square was in our mom’s perfect wrapping, there was still an element of surprise. What would the theme be? New Kids on the Block and Cabbage Patch Kids are the ones that come to mind.
We eagerly tore the paper off. The front picture revealed a picture that represented our current interests. I would turn it over to the twelve squares on the back, one for each month. It was our yearly calendar. Though this may sound boring, my mom had an added twist.
We hung our calendars in our bedrooms in their designated places. Every evening, our mom would take them down and write in the square for that day. By the end of the year, we had memories for 365 days.
There was always something to be recorded every day. Most of the days were filled with daily activities, such as play dates, places we went, or how our school day was.
- Dec. 15, 1986: Daddy made us popcorn and we watched Fraggle Rock.
- Doctor visits, losing a tooth, or fighting a cold were recorded.
- Feb. 9, 1986: I don’t feel good. My ears hurt and my throat hurts. Mommy fixed a bed on the couch.
- Weather, significant headlines, sports stories, and popular movies and music filled the gaps.
- Jan. 16, 1991 (7 p.m.): Operation Desert Storm War
There came the point in time when squares were left blank, then weeks, months, and eventually, our calendars hung with nothing written. Between keeping up with three children and us growing up, my mom probably shifted focus. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy this, she likely found priorities geared toward her teenage children, especially in a time where I made it clear that I wanted my belongings untouched. However, I still looked forward to my yearly calendar.
As my brother, sister, and I moved out and started our own families, my parents began doing what a lot of parents do when their children have a place of their own. The boxes started coming home with us, boxes of old school projects, pictures, artwork, and for my siblings and I, calendars. The most recent box I sifted through contained my 1986 and 1991 calendars.
I love having these journal-like reminders of my life as a child. Reading them brings back memories and brings others to the surface. As an adult, seeing myself as a child through my mother’s eyes is a special gift. Much of my early life is forgotten or a blur. Thanks to my mom’s idea, chapters of my early life are easily accessible.
My parents continue this tradition with my children. Every year, they get a calendar that reflects each of their interests. In our bedrooms hang calendars of Hello Kitty, the periodic table, Power Rangers and Sesame Street. My children enjoy this little tradition as much as I did. Geared toward life as a busy mom, I continue to receive yearly calendars, too.
Admittedly, I have fallen behind with my upkeep. The last couple of years end with blank calendars. With every new child, it became harder for me to remember. By the end of the day, I would tell myself that I would catch up later. My mom brain ultimately got the best of me, and I gave up, but this doesn’t mean I can’t start back. I’m making it a priority to begin again in 2020.
Who knew something so simple could be so cherished?