The Power of Post-its (A Repost in support of Shot @ Life.)

Last year I was privileged to be involved in The Shot @ Life Blogust campaign. This year, the folks at Shot @ Life gave past Blogust alumni permission to repost our posts from previous years and collect comments once again to donate as vaccines for this incredible cause. (Every time you comment on or share a Blogust post, Walgreens will donate a vaccine to a child in need.) As the daughter of a Polio survivor (my mother) and a privileged mother of four vaccinated children, I believe in this cause and all that it represents. Check out the Blogust 2014 Calendar for more information on the incredible community of writers donating their stories this month. (The following post was originally published August 1st, 2013.)
Red fish, blue fish
My kids all walked at different ages, which isn't surprising because they're all different people, but it was surprising to me because Archer was all I knew before Fable...and Archer and Fable were all I knew before Bo and Revi...and before that, all I knew was myself from reading the baby book my mom made for me when I was a babe that is currently falling apart and full of old baby hair and a faded hospital bracelet and cards from my parents' old neighbors.

That's the beauty of being given the task of looking backwards when you don't have the memories for yourself. Here it is, my beginning, of which I know nothing about except that I was there. I was here in this picture and I was there in that house and this hair was once attached to me and now it's... old hair. In an envelope.

Which I appreciate. Because it's the part of my timeline I don't remember.


I don't remember my first birthday and my kids won't remember their first birthdays either, but I will remember those moments for them--the milestones, like post-it notes sticking out of the books I keep and store for them as my mother did for me and hers and hers and hers... until they take over and keep their own journals, online, offline, on the backs of their hands in permanent ink... 

Last week I spent an afternoon on the phone with my Nana discussing how fortunate she is to still have her memory. How lucky all of us are to be able to look backwards because age has a tendency to take that away from us. The eraser gets too close to our blackboards and then, POOF, it's gone.

"When you are old like me you will find that looking back is what gives you the most joy," she told me.  "Revisiting all of those memories, writing them all down. Knowing they're there and you can visit them..."
I don't understand but I kind of do. I take my mind for granted. I take my ability to think and remember, to sit down with an old journal and summon the ghosts of summers past.

My Nana's boyfriend was recently diagnosed with Alzeimer's. She writes him letters about the days they spend together so that he can relive them in place of the memory gone missing and it has become an integral part of their relationship. Like the love letters we used to write and pass in class. The ones we thought meant the world. The ones we have saved in our parents' garages and read to remember. Those were as much our milestones as anything.

The first kiss and the first love and the first time you had to hide the hickey from your parents.

Remember me. Remember this. Remember us.

And if you can't, I will.

And in case I don't, I'll write it down. 

I have been writing it all down since I was eight years old, for better and for worse, and when I pulled out an old journal from 8th grade, I was taken aback by my complete lack of sense but also all of these moments I had forgotten. Moments that had a profound effect on who I am now. Milestones.
IMG_8163 Bo's first steps, 11 months
IMG_1090 Revi started walking just before her first birthday. Archer didn't walk until he was seventeen monthsFable, too. 

Blogs started out as journals. And for the last eight years, this has been mine--where I come to tell my story and share the moments my mother put down in my baby book. This is where I announce good news and bad news, record first steps and words, go back to remember, cringe slightly, and then move forward with the knowledge that worrying is kind of futile, actually. 

I was told, even before Bo and Revi were born that the first year of twin parenting was going to be excruciatingly difficult, but when I look back on that first year, all I see is hope.

The first cries and the first smile and the first steps = hope. The first time Bo found her wave...

I was in the kitchen when Bo stood up and walked to me from the hallway. I was in the dining room when Revi stood up and did the same. 

That's what memories do. That's what looking back does.

Don't look backeveryone says.

But how lucky are we that we can. How fortunate that we have the tools to remind ourselves of the time they... and the time we...  and how we all... and it felt like...

Push forward, look back, push forward, look back.

This is their dance. And watching them dance is part of ours. 


During Shot@Life’s Blogust, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 60,000 vaccines). A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. 

Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! Stay connected with Shot@Life at, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. And hop on over to Globetrotting Mama to comment on Heather's amazing post today benefiting Blogust. 

"As we made our way through the crowds back to our waiting cab, adrenaline racing, I realized that the thrill was as much about what we had seen as it was about the fact that we had faced what the world had told us was something to fear and found it to be as safe as a baseball game outing at home...  The world is a funny place with its general ideas of people and places. As if one news story or even a dozen could ever do justice to the complexities of countries in conflict."