Having a keepsake made is a truly personal journey.
From the moment you join the waiting list to the time you get your longed-for keepsake in your hands there are so many questions to answer:
Which clothes do I use?
Which are my favourite parts of those clothes?
Which animal do I have made?
Have I chosen the right company to make the keepsake?
What size should my keepsake be?
What should I have embroidered on it?
Most people start by digging their clothes out of the attic and then the trip down Memory Lane begins in earnest. For many of my customers, they are having a keepsake made from their children’s baby grows that their little one has grown out of. When you hold that tiny, weeny garment in your hands a momentary flashback seems to take over and you can smell, feel and remember so clearly the moment you held your child for the first time.
And that outfit that they wore on the way back from the hospital? What comes to mind for me is that my husband and I literally had NO IDEA how to fasten the car seat to the car. We checked and rechecked it with the paranoid fear of Brand New Parents.
Then there are the slightly larger clothes that remind you of the time you got caught in the rain in the park and cursed yourself for forgetting to bring the rain cover. Or the outfit that Great Aunt Mary gave you, or the one that Granny made, or the one that you loved but never, ever fitted as your child was FAR TOO BIG.
And how about that blanket that you always loved…..?
And suddenly you look at the pile of clothes and it’s got 25 items in it and you only need 9. So you start trying to thin them out and fail miserably. So send in far too many anyhow.
Or realise that you can’t bear to have them chopped up quite yet and so you pack them back into the bag and ask to drop down the waiting list.
When you do finally get the clothes together and you’re ready to send them in, you realise you still haven’t decided whether you’d prefer a lion or a bear. What would little Sammy like? Maybe a dinosaur? But you’re pretty sure that you prefer the giraffes.
Then you consider the embroidery – there are so many more options! Do you choose birth weight? Full name? Middle names? Date of birth? Time?
At this point, you’re probably starting to wonder if it’s the right decision and whether you should just forget it.
But the truth is that there are no ‘right’ answers.
My experience of making hundreds and hundreds of animals for all sorts of people tells me that every answer is the right one. It doesn’t matter if you choose those clothes or the other ones; if you get a bear or an elephant; or if you have their birth weight on it or not. It will be right.
There’s something magical in the action of transforming an item so loved and well used, but no longer useful, into something treasured.
You’ll probably take a trip down Memory Lane and remember vividly when baby Louis projectile vomited on the new sofa (and you wonder why oh why you thought it was a good idea to get a new sofa before you brought a baby into the house – especially one that seemed to vomit for no good reason) and you’ll definitely feel in some way physically attached to those clothes and to the memories they evoke. And somehow you feel deeply attached to the time in your life when your baby fitted into them. You remember that was before they could walk, talk, smile, argue, make jokes or draw with black marker on the walls.
I get it! I remember all those times myself! Oh so well…..
Every time you look at your keepsake animal you will know you made the right set of decisions because here is the unique and beautiful item that reminds you of the good, the bad and the ugly times of parenting.
You can pass the animal down to your child to keep – or you can hoard it just for yourself – and if you’re very lucky it’ll get passed along without the added preschooler bonus of marker pen glasses.
Please feel free to leave any comments below or ask any questions that you may have about my animals. I can try and answer other questions too but I might come a bit unstuck on particle physics or the life cycle of the Himalayan ferret.