One of my resolutions is to “Be a storehouse of happy memories,” and one tradition that I started years ago, almost accidentally, was taking a photograph on the first and last day of school each year. I have the Big Girl (and starting next year, the Little Girl) hold up a sign that says “Last day of second grade — June 14, 2007″ or whatever.
It makes a great keepsake. I wish that I’d been organized enough to start a special photo album, just with these pictures, so we could more easily see the changes over the years. I didn’t think to do that, so they’re just sprinkled in the albums among the other pictures, but they’re still fun to see.
Research shows that a good way to boost happiness is to reflect on happy times in the past, and looking at photographs — or any other memento — is a good way to prompt your recollections.
Also, although taking a photo is easy and takes only a second, the tradition of making the sign and taking the photograph adds a little bit to the special quality of these first/last days, and that’s important to me, because I want my children to understand the importance of school.
I make extra copies and send them off to the grandparents, too. So little work, so many happiness resolutions fulfilled!
It occurs to me that this post is Parent-Hack-ish, so if you like this sort of thing, be sure to check out Parent Hacks, which has a million ideas for making it easier to be a parent. A recent favorite hack of mine: ask your kids to do their pouring over the open dishwasher door. The door makes a good surface, just the right height, and any spills are contained and cleaned up when you run the dishwasher.
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