Father’s Day is the third Sunday of June. My husband, Russ, has been a daddy for 23 years. Fifteen years ago I started a tradition for Father’s Day; we began a Progressive Photo Album and it has been the ABSOLUTE BEST FATHER’S DAY GIFT.
I am not creative. Why did I do this? Out of guilt, really. I had several friends that scrap booked. I could not imagine putting that much time into a book. What happened if our house caught on fire and all that time went up in smoke?
But I had a ton of pictures, begging to be used. What to do?
How about create a ONCE A YEAR photo album? Bam. I am brilliant.
First, I bought a nice photo album from Hallmark. I put in an opening page. Then I gave each child (descending by age) the next two pages, a left side and a right side.
Their job was to:
- Write a note to Dad in THEIR OWN HANDWRITING, telling him why they loved him.
- Draw a picture if they wanted.
- Add current photo of their pretty/handsome self.
The goal: to capture each child at their particular age, with their personality/look/abilities.
This little guilt project has turned into The Best Thing Ever.
The kids eagerly participate in this project. They take it seriously, even the bigs. As Father’s Day approaches, they think about the year, the changes they have gone through and Who They Are Now. They want all that to be shown in their two pages.
Some of the creative kids want their name to stand out so they spend a lot of time creating their name.
This is how Mitchell’s name has progressed, age 6 to age 17.
They also want to adequately express their thanks to their dad for his hard work and effort at building our family. So they spend time thinking about it. What happened this year? What made it special? What do they respect about their dad?
Note: I do not edit or correct, which sort of kills the English teacher that lives inside my head. But it is HILARIOUS for a child to read their page from a year or two ago and catch all the “errors.”
I do the pages for the newborns:
I ask the toddler what they think about their daddy. I get lots of interesting answers and I write them verbatim:
The gallery below is from Rachel, now age 20. I love, love, love her first pages. For those of you that cannot read four-year old, she said, “Dad, I thank you for giving me a Popsicle at night.”
See, Russ will start at that Popsicle incident, smile as he recalls how he gave his little girl a treat on the porch swing instead of putting her directly back in bed; he will keep looking at his girl, year after year, until he gets to his baby ALL GROWN UP.
These two green pages below are from my biggest kid. But he’s not THAT big. He cut and pasted his head onto Rich Froning, CrossFit King. Like I said, I let my kids do their own pages. They spend lots of time on them, even if they plagiarize bodies.
Every Father’s Day we let Russ have his coffee. Then we ask him to sit down and we hand him the first Father’s Day Book. (We now have six of them.) He begins. He sees his life unfolding before him, through his children’s eyes.
He reads what THEY think about him, what THEY like about him, what THEY respect and admire about him. About half way through the second book my husband will reach for the Kleenex box. They have it ready and waiting.
Truth be told, it’s also a treat for the KIDS to see their dad’s love for THEM as he gazes upon their growth and their lives on Father’s Day
This is ABSOLUTELY the Best Father’s Day Gift. And if there was a fire, he said he’d grab the scrapbooks.