No, I’m not talking about reincarnation.  Well, maybe I am in a way.  It’s more like reinvention. Revisionist history. I’m talking about the lives we had before we were mothers.

If you’re anything like me, you have boxes of photos and mementoes in the attic.  Evidence abounds:  Trips you took.  Old friends.  Bad haircuts and crazy fashions.  All of this is fine so far.  It’s good for our kids to know that we had lives before we had them.  That trip to Vegas.  Pics of you doing Jell-O shots.  Here’s one of you doing a keg stand.  Hmmm.  Now it’s getting a little trickier.  Do you save these for posterity?  What if your kids find them someday, can you explain?  Do you want to?  We’re not talking about anything illegal, right?  Any proof of illegal activity should be disposed of pronto, obviously. 

Uh oh, here’s the ex-boyfriend section.  Your husband isn’t bothered by them and when you really dig deep, neither are you.  There’s no lasting emotion there, no twinges at all, and that’s a good thing.  But should you keep them?  My kids are very small now so it’s not an issue, but when they are older, it’s important to me that they know I dated other people before I met their father.  I want them to experience many loves, even though those loves will each come with their own heartbreaks.  That’s the only way to find out what you do and don’t want in a partner, what works and what doesn’t, how to be in a relationship.  For these reasons I say yeah, keep those pictures and let them spark conversations about how you treat the people you love.  Conversations about love and sex and all that stuff that we’re all just dying to discuss with our kids, right?  These pictures and mementoes are evidence of things that happened to me, people who affected me.  Nothing that my kids might see in these photos changes the life that I have now.  They don’t change the love I feel for their father or the gratitude I feel for my life.  So bring on the old pictures, we’ll have a Blast from the Past party!

. . . and then there was the summer in Myrtle Beach when I was 16 . . .

What do you think?  Will you share details of your former life with your kids?  If so, when and how much will you share?

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