As a mom, there are plenty of things to feel guilty about–letting your baby wear a wet diaper for a smiiidge too long, taking him outside without umpteen layers of sun protection (the SPF, the lightweight long sleeves, the floppy hat, etc.), feeding him something non-organic, the list goes on. But, the other day, I discovered
something new to feel guilty about: not keeping a “baby book.”
It had never occurred to me that this was something I ought to feel bad about until a friend questioned me about it the other day. After showing me her baby book full of photos and must-document moments, like “first poop” and “first drool,” she asked about my book. I responded with a blank stare and then an awkward “Uh… I don’t actually one,” which must have sounded a lot like, “Uh… I’m the worst mother in the world,” judging from her response.
On the way home, while thinking about how she had painstakingly recorded every moment of her child’s life from birth until the present, I felt a tinge of regret for not keeping a similar record. Jacob had smiled and laughed and crawled and did all the other sweet things her baby had done, but I had no proof. When he was older and wanted to know the exact date of his first sneeze, and I couldn’t tell him, well, what kind of a mother would he think I was?
I determined that I would go home and start wracking my brain for dates and start printing pictures so that I, too, could have documented evidence of my love for my child.
Then, I came to my senses. Not having a beautiful, heirloom-quality baby book does not mean I love my little boy any less.
Yes, I would like to have a book of hard-copy photos of my little guy to share with him when he’s older because looking at a computer screen just isn’t the same. But whether memories of his first years of life are recorded in a baby book or in a computer or via cave-man style drawings, it doesn’t matter. No material object can measure the degree of love for my little one. Nor should it.
It may be true that I don’t remember the exact dates that Jacob first smiled, laughed, crawled, or had a crazy blowout, but I remember the moments well. And, when he’s old enough, I’ll share those moments with him, baby book or not. That may not be good enough for my friend, but it’s good enough for me, and, hopefully, it will be for him, too.