That’s when I first tried throwing away my own young children’s art. Of course, I felt an ache as I pitched it into the trash. There’s a moment when a child first presents you with their art, holding it out with the last split second of attention they can muster after completing it. That moment contains a burst of pride on both your parts, and a frisson of mutual love. But in the end, your pride lasts longer than the child’s does. Eventually, and soon, it must move on to another venture. Theirs always does, but yours lingers, heartstrings tugged.
It’s the wish to prolong this moment artificially, I think, that motivates the urge to keep and curate your children’s art in posterity. You convince yourself there’s some future where your child will want to return to that moment of pride and love through the act of witnessing the thing they made so long ago.
Don’t fall for it. You’re only trying to make yourself feel better. You’ll never quite be able to tell which moment your children will remember, and it’s not as if you can regulate that memory on their behalf anyway. And besides, childhood is made from a thousand moments just like this. There’s no way to hold onto all of them.