Dear Parents, Do This For Your Children (Before It's Too Late) - Sarah Mae
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Dear Parents, Do This For Your Children (Before It’s Too Late)


Making memories with my beautiful Ella

A couple of weeks ago I read a post on Facebook from a friend of mine that so moved me that I decided to act. She talked about losing her father and all the things she wished she had of him to remember him by. As I read her words, I realized that I don’t want to take anything for granted, especially my life. What if something happened to me, would my children have pictures and recordings to remember me by, to see and listen to if I can’t be with them? So often I take pictures or videos of my children, but I don’t get in them, usually because I think I look terrible and don’t want to be recorded. But the thing is, our kids don’t care about that; they just want us, mess and all.

Because my friend’s post so impacted me, and caused me to get on the ball with intentional memory making, I asked her if I could share her post with you in its entirety and she said yes.

Please welcome my beautiful friend Sarah Jessica Farber

Dear Parent Friends,

Here is what you should know. I got 23 years, 2 months, and 11 days with my dad, and they were not enough. Forever, of course, is not enough – all of our parents leave us too soon. I was reminded of this first thing this morning, when I got a text from a friend saying she was crying. My email had the why: our mutual friend has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. All I can think about are her two little boys. So…

Here is what I wish I had, since I don’t have my dad:

I wish I had his voice, recorded, preferably telling the kind of jokes and stories that my mom would scold him for. I wish I could hear him pronounce human “yoo-man” one last time, and wrinkle my nose at the awkward sound.

I wish I had video of him, doing anything. Even talking on the phone to his best friend while watching golf on TV would be great. He’d call Jesse “honey” and Jesse would call him “dear” and they’d gossip and talk about their motorcycles and who knows what else and it would put me to sleep. I’d love to hear that again, to be bored by the mundane conversation, to see his quirks captured on camera.

And photos, I wish I had more of them. I have precious few-he was behind the camera a lot, and didn’t much like having his picture taken. But what I wouldn’t give for a picture from the early 90s that isn’t the incredibly awkward family photo where Alex is the only one smiling and my lips are totally chapped.


Most of all, I wish I had his stories. God, he could tell a tale. Some of them were embellished, but the strangest ones were all true. I still don’t know how he ended up on the Kennedy’s yacht but danged if there isn’t a picture of him on the Honey Fitz hanging up at mom’s house. And I wish I knew more about his time in Korea in the Peace Corps. I have the fantastic picture with his mutton chop sideburns and a bunch of Korean people who are strangers to me. All I know is they were his students at the university. That story will remain unwritten.

I want you all to tell your kids your stories. Write them. Let them video you. Use the awesome StoryCorps app – it will help. Your children can interview you.  And get in the pictures – get a selfie stick if you must, but take pictures with your kids.  Have pictures taken.

Please do this for your children. 1 in 2 women will have cancer; 1 in 3 men will have cancer. Most will survive it, but no one lives forever. I beg of you, please think now about leaving your stories for your babies.


P.S. Resources I have found since posting this on FB:

Recordable Storybooks from DaySpring and Hallamark.

Every Story Media – Turning your family stories and history into video.

You can read this post on Sarah’s blog as well by heading HERE.

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  • Kim Hine

    Hi Sarah, I just read this in your email newsletter, and so I visited Sarah Jessica’s blog and posted a message there, I can so relate to Sarah’s story I think I was about the same age when I lost my Dad, and like Sarah I have very little in the way of photos and none of recordings etc. I am a Grandma now and I jump into every photo I can with my munchkins one is 20 months I don’t get to see her but I journal for her, the other two are 16 month old cousins, we have video to, I want them to be able to have happy memories when I am not here to hold them, thank you for sharing this blog posting.. I am also blogging about it, on my page.
    Kim in Australia,

  • Angela Parlin

    Ohhhhh…this hits home! My dad had a fall from a 20 foot ladder this last May, and we’ve been recording things and snapping pics of him ever since. But I am the Mom who doesn’t like to be in pictures because I look awful, and I need to change that. 🙁

    • sarahjessicafarber

      There is a great blog post about that – it has gone viral. Maybe I will be able to find it. Suffice it to say, your babes think you are beautiful. You are the standard they MEASURE beauty by. The only bad picture is the one you aren’t in, sister! Much love to you and best wishes to your dad for his continued healing.

  • Stephanie

    Smilebox is another great resource for creating memories. We use it every year to make cd’s for “our year in pictures” Christmas gifts.

    • sarahjessicafarber

      I will check that out! Always on the lookout for new ways to share photos beyond my Facebook page.

  • Kristina S.

    I feel like this pushes Mommy guilt. I personally feel our memories are enough. I use to collect pictures like crazy and one day I realized they were often bringing back so much pain, guilt, sadness. I stopped caring about pictures and rarely look at them or take them. For thousands of years there were no pictures, but the stories passed down are rich. My children will always have me with them in their mind just as I have my beloved Grandmothers and Grandpa close to my heart always. 🙂 I don’t need a photograph to have them near me.

    • Shanna

      Speaking as someone who has lost a parent (like the author of the FB post), I disagree. My dad has been gone for 8 years, and I find that I can barely recall his voice anymore. I forget the little details of his face. He was gone before my children were born, and I have very few pictures to show them. Pictures, videos, and keepsakes are important.

    • Sarah Mae

      Kristina, it’s not for everyone, friend, and if you feel good about your memories, then that works for your family. No guilt intended. For me, it was inspiring, not guilt-inducing. If something happens to me, I want my children to have some tangible things to have of me, but that’s because it speaks to my heart. We all have to figure out what works for us. 🙂

    • sarahjessicafarber

      Kristina, if it helps at all, a friend who shared this piece urged her friends to capture the quotidian. There is beauty in the every day stuff. Much love to you and yours!

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