As mentioned in an earlier post, I spent a lot of time planning how to commemorate my little Monkey’s first birthday. I wanted to make it memorable for him not just in the present moment (which he would soon forget) but also in the future.
Perhaps because of my love for history, as a child I was fascinated by time capsules. I clearly remember when our little township in New Jersey celebrated its centennial. In addition to the parades and getting to dress up in period costume, I remember burying a time capsule at our elementary school. We put in newspapers, books, and photos, all destined to be discovered by other school children in another hundred years. (I wonder whether schoolchildren today would recognize what a newspaper is, less than twenty years later!)
My sister and I would often create time capsules for ourselves, filled with toys and knick knacks. We sealed them up tightly with tape and marked in bold letters: “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL JANUARY 1, 2000!” Hmm, I wonder whatever happened to those!
In any case, before my little Monkey’s first birthday, we decided to create time capsule for him. While this idea is designed for a first birthday, if your child is older, there is no reason it can’t be used for a later birthday instead.
What to Include
We wrote to my little Monkey’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends, and asked them to send us notes to include in the time capsule. We also asked those attending his birthday party to bring notes for the time capsule with them. We gave them some idea of what we were looking for, but it was so much fun to see what they came up with. Here are some ideas:
- Photos of the person/family, including with the birthday child
For example, my mother put together a really sweet little photo album of my little Monkey with her and my father.
- The person’s memories of when the birthday child was born
What child doesn’t love hearing about how excited people were when s/he was born?
- Favorite memories of time spent with the child
Again, what a treat for the child to read in the future about how much Auntie loved to read stories with him or take him to the park.
- A verbal snapshot of the person or family at the time of the birthday
My grandparents, guessing that they would not be around when my little Monkey opened the time capsule at age fifteen, wrote a beautiful letter to him that, in a way, introduced themselves to him, telling him about their lives. I imagine this letter will be one of the most treasured items in the time capsule.
- The person’s memories of when they reached the age the child will be when the time capsule is opened
My sister-in-law wrote a really wonderful letter to my little Monkey, telling him all about what a great age fifteen was for her and giving him her best wishes for the upcoming year. She also had fun imagining what he would be like as a fifteen year old.
You can also include any mementos you wish – clothes, toys, etc. Be creative!
When to Open
Pick a future birthday that is meaningful to you. For some this will be 18, when the child reaches adulthood. For others it may be “sweet sixteen.” For us it was age fifteen, since this is a significant birthday in the Baha’i Faith, the age when a person is considered to have reached spiritual maturity.
It is difficult but exciting to imagine my little Monkey as a fifteen year old boy, opening his time capsule. I hope he will enjoy reading the letters and seeing the mementos, but above all I hope he feels the love and joy they express, sentiments that I’m sure will grow right along with him.
This post has been shared at Made in a Day’s Made U Look Linky, Taming the Goblin’s Kids Co-op, Bowdabra’s Saturday Showcase, Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration Sunday, One Creative Mommy’s One Creative Weekend, and Say Not Sweet Anne’s Sweet Sharing Monday.