This is not a sob story about getting older. After all, I’m only turning 34 this month. But to the college students who frequent our Shabbos table, I’m certainly no longer in their peer group. Just this past Shabbos, a 22-year-old saw my photo album of the past year and said, “Oh, you make those too? My step dad does that.” Apparently, printing out my photos on Snapfish and putting them in an album–and we’re not talking about scrapbooking here–means that her step dad and I have something in common: we’re both dinosaurs.
While I also love posting photos and updates online, I can’t help but think that even as we document and share every minute of our lives, there’s something fleeting about it all. We might gather up a mountain of personal information on Facebook, but will our kids and grandkids really ever see it all? Maybe. Or maybe when there’s just so much information, it becomes meaningless.
There’s something to be said for dinosaur technologies. That’s why every year on my kids’ birthdays, I pick up a pen and paper to write a letter about their year. I try to remember how he or she has grown, who they are friends with, what they did that was funny and what their personalities were like. I don’t capture every moment, but instead I try to focus on the big picture. The letters are sealed away together, and I hope each kid will find them meaningful one day.
This week I’ll be writing two letters. My oldest is turning 9, and my baby will be 1 on March 3, the same day that my grandfather–who is the baby’s namesake–was born. It will be the first birthday they share together. May there be many more.