Last year, when Big C was in kindergarten, he came home with the most adorable schoolwork. Art projects, worksheets, and my favorite, lined paper on which he practiced his handwriting and ultimately attempted to formulate words and sentences. At the start of the year, I kept EVERYTHING. I dated the back of the papers, hole punched them, and organized them neatly in a 3-ring binder. I couldn’t bear to throw anything away.
About halfway through the school year, the binder was bulging, and I realized I had no choice but to start removing papers if I expected to have enough space through June. I sadly tore out generic worksheets and coloring sheets, stuffing them at the bottom of the recycling bin before Big C could spot them and ask how I could be so cruel as to consider his hard work trash.
I’m proud to say I fit most of his kindergarten year into that binder, with report cards tucked into the front pocket. I have frequently flipped through the contents, my heart swelling at the progress he made in 1 short year. That binder is almost as much of a treasure as his baby book.
Big C is now in 1st grade, and for the first few weeks I performed the same ritual as I had a year ago. Admire, hole punch, collate. But 1 day, as I placed the binder on the shelf beside his kindergarten binder, I wondered how long I was planning to keep this up. Would I continue to save his schoolwork until he graduated from high school? Where would I store these binders? And what exactly did I plan to do with them? I highly doubt he’d appreciate my efforts when I passed them on to him as an adult. He’d probably just wonder why I kept them all these years and then throw them away himself.
Add to that the fact that I have another child, which means twice as many binders. Little C is already bringing home her own adorable schoolwork from preschool, and I don’t have the heart to throw her papers out either. Should I really save them all?
As difficult as it’s going to be, I’ve decided to just keep the best of the best. The first letters and numbers written. The cutest drawings. The best handwriting samples. The funniest journal entries. And of course the Mother’s Day cards. Maybe I can pick a dozen or so of my favorites from each year and make 1 big schoolwork binder for each child. That way, when they go off to college, I can nestle into my empty nest clutching those binders and reminding myself how far they’ve come.