“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale.”
—Hans Christian Andersen

I had another newsletter topic almost set to go, but then last weekend my close friends’ 16-year-old daughter Emily received a heart transplant at Children’s Hospital in Boston. They hadn’t expected it would happen so soon, but Emily’s health took a turn for the worse, sending her to the hospital, and then the planets aligned to bring her a heart. It has been less than a week, but so far she is doing great.

Emily is a wonderful young woman, whom I think of as more like a niece, and over this past week I couldn’t help but remember her at various earlier stages of her life, including taking her first breath, as I was lucky enough to be present at her birth–the official photographer.

And as I worried for Emily, I felt for the preciousness of my own two children – the funny things they say at bedtime, the odd expressions they pick up, the periodic stutter or oft-repeated poem. I wanted to hug them tightly (even as they whined) and record them how they are today, commenting on their lives in their own voices.

At Thanksgiving, I interviewed my hip nephew Jonathan about a fashion decision he’d made. He was still happy with his choice, but he’d realized that his decision had cost him the opportunity to make some new friends. It seemed a surprisingly astute observation for a 9-year-old, and it says so much about who he is today. To listen, click HERE.

But often these recordings of our children do not seem so important at first. It is only after time has passed that we realize: that child, that voice is gone; that phase has passed. And what we have saved by recording them becomes, quite simply, a treasure. I know some of you have already heard this clip of our daughter Tia singing Robert Frost’s “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” in her now-gone-forever 5-year-old voice, but if not, or if you just need a breath of sweetness in an overburdened day, click HERE.

This year, record some stories from your children, as did this mother of her 10-year-old daughter at the StoryCorps booth in New York: “I think I might want to be straight with a nice husband, but, of course, I don’t have any idea what it’s like to have kids, ’cause I am a kid myself.”  To listen, click HERE.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy new year — full of stories.

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