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My Memory Tree

Hey Dad,
It’s been a red-letter week here at the Wilson home. Not only did we celebrate my birthday, but we also celebrated the first snowfall of the year. As is tradition, we ate dinner at Long John Silvers (don’t ask me how that one started), and we gave each of our children a new pair of gloves, or a new hat, or something ‘snowy.’

As hard as it is to make time for celebrations, the important thing about them is that they create memories, and those memories bring strength, love and comfort years later.

I just know that when my children are adults and see that first snowflake fall from the sky, they’ll remember how much their dad loved snow and how much he loved them.

That’s why I work hard at making and preserving memories—they help us remember what’s important.

In fact, I just came up with a whopper of an idea. Not only does it preserve memories, but it also solves the problem of getting rid of all the junk that my wife would like to toss but I’m still emotionally attached to.

I’m calling it a memory tree. Actually, it’s a tree that broke during a summer windstorm leaving a 10-foot tall trunk behind. So, this past weekend I sawed off the jaggedy part, had my son Sam (12) carve a big ‘W’ in it and had my son Ike (8) nail my old favorite sandals to the trunk plus a few other trinkets.

Wa-la…memory tree. I envision a tree covered in old toys, shoes, wooden swords, and other memory-making junk in a decade or so. The kids will bring their kids back and remember the important stuff as they point out junk on the memory tree and add their own.

Plus, now I don’t have to throw it away! That’s what I call killing two birds with one tree.

Now, you may not have a tree that your wife will let you cover in junk, but maybe there is another way you can preserve memories. It might be a box filled with stuff, a garage wall covered in “treasures”, or a 3-ring binder stuffed full of photos and memories.

Whatever you do, your children will come back to it, like the Israelites did with those rocks in the Jordan, point to it and say, “Now I remember that…and boy did my dad love me.”

You ‘da dad,

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Is the tree thing legal? Or, will tree huggers catch wind of this, circle the tree, hum, chant and give it a big hug, pulling down all the memory items in the process. Might want to consider some ‘tree-huggers’ liability insurance Todd.

  2. To help us reduce unneeded storage from time to time, we pretend we had a house fire.

    Here’s what we do when we find things we have saved, but wouldn’t have even noticed if they had been lost in the fire: We look at and hold the object, contemplate the memories and reasons it was saved, and then say “Too bad we lost it in the fire…”

    We can mourn for the pack-ratted item one last time before we THROW IT AWAY. Very therapeutic and it works.

  3. hmmmm…not sure if I would go for this in my backyard. (this is a wife leaving this comment) My hats off to your wife for agreeing to this though.
    Love your website for Dads. Keep up the great work!
    Take care

  4. Looks like a “back enough” back yard to pull this off. I’m suspecting there is no HOA involved. Great idea, but we don’t have a big enough tree, except for maybe the palms right in front. Hmmm.. I wonder… Nah! LOL

  5. Wow! I love this idea! I think I want to do the garage wall thing…but what do you do if the Lord calls you to move to a new location? When you sell the house do you put a clause in there that the new owners must let you come look at the tree whenever you want?

  6. I am forwarding this to my Dad,now 68, for him to be encouraged, and to let him know that I love his precious sentimental soul…I take after him!
    He took his time with me, and we still live in the same town and run a coffee house together. I get frustrated that he keeps so much, but the objects and sometimes the ‘smells’ associated with them bring back memories, like the old ice cream maker with the eagle emblem on the side kinda falling apart, that no electric ice cream maker could remind me of so well as those childhood summer days of fresh peach, or fresh blueberry ice creammmmmm …everybody got involved working the hand crank…we were involved in eachothers lives at those moments with a mutual goal in mind. Who wants to rebel against that? He has made incredible improvements to declutter over the past few years to make room for grandkid memorabilia…but he still has a ‘kid’s church art’ file from when we grew-up most of which are on the backs of yellow ‘church registration’ cards! I LOVE your tree, and will pass the idea along to all the clutterbugs I know! Thanks for your encouraging words to all the Dads out there, and for the insight for moms.
    God Bless your efforts!

  7. very funny…growing up, my sisters and i had a “gum tree”…it was covered with chewed gum…hundreds of pieces of chewed gum…ah, memories…;)

  8. Our family has one memory that moves with us. Instead of marking the children’s heights on a door frame, we have a measuring board. It sports all of their measurements from the time they could stand,until the present. We’ve done it every six months (or close to it). Our oldest is now 17. 🙂 Birthday celebrations are not complete without the measuring stick. How much did I grow since last time? How tall was ___ when he/she was 9? When our kids get to the age of marrying and leaving home, I intend to copy each child’s “measures” onto a new stick so that their children can have the fun of knowing how big mom/dad was when they were 6 or 7 or whatever. Memories, like love and forgiveness, are priceless AND free.

  9. Love your tree! But, now you either: A) Can never move, or B) Have to cut the tree down and erect it in your next backyard!

    Hey! Wait a minute! Isn’t this perpetuating the stereotype that we homeschoolers are weird?!! LOL!! ;}

  10. I read your article in the Homeschool Minute about your memory tree and saying, “You can’t just throw them AWAY!”

    Wow. That is just like me. My mom died when I was 29 and I have kept so many of her things as memories, in addition to things from my own childhood and things from my children. . .

    They’re all precious to me.

    P.S. I don’t think the “too bad we lost it in the fire” would work for me, although it’s a creative idea. 🙂

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