I was in a creative meeting yesterday and Greg Payne started talking about a special tradition in his family. Greg and I have worked together for more than 15 years. He is a writer, performer and director for Orange and an amazing dad of two daughters, Carly and Greylin. Greg’s idea goes along so well with the thoughts in my “Time Flies” post that I asked him to tell you about it here. I think you’ll like it as much as I do:

“When my daughters were babies, I thought I could tell they had grown from the time I went to work in the morning until I saw them at night.  Yeah, I thought time was moving fast then.  They’re now 14 and 11 and the speed at which they grow wiser, stronger, and more beautiful makes me dizzy sometimes.  In between school, rides to gymnastic meets, horse- riding lessons, pizza on the way home from dance class, homework late at night, and soccer in the rain… whew!  The speed of life is overwhelming.  I find myself looking for the brakes, wanting to slow it all down and hold on to a moment here or there.  It seems like the ‘ordinary’ things of yesterday have taken on such value simply because they reflect bits of our lives that were anything but ordinary.  Ticket stubs, photos, old tests, and a handwritten note in misspelled four-year-old English become golden with the passing of a few years.

With the ticking of the clock in our ears, my wife and I decided to start a family yearbook.  We hoped for a way to capture the thoughts, laughs, and stories that were being made every day in our house. So we loaded our family into the car and went to the bookstore.  My creative children picked out a blank journal that we could customize with the initial of our last name.  It didn’t take long before we all started to make some rules to help us capture the ordinary moments that were slipping past us every week.  We try to open it up and make an entry at least once each week at the dinner table.  It’s been a few months now, and some guidelines for our yearbook have become family tradition.

• ALWAYS use the special pen!

• If it’s your birthday you can ask any question and everyone at the table has to answer it.

• Anyone in the family can decide that it should be a journal night.

• You don’t have to use words.  Drawing pictures is encouraged.

• It can be fun to start with a question and let everyone write their answer.

• If something happens that affects the whole family, we can choose someone to write about it.

• If someone at the table needs encouragement, we can all write a note about them.

I haven’t actually looked back at the journal yet.  I’m saving the experience until after we fill out the last page, or maybe until a full year goes by.  But I am sure about two things: First, it’s not actually stopping time (I can tell because my beard is getting more grey by the day). Second, that book resting on the shelf by our dining table is growing more and more valuable with every passing entry.”

What ways do you capture the everyday moments in your family?