Baby diaries serve as loving – and sarcastic – glance at the past

September 21, 2012


Many families start out writing in their kids’ baby diaries for a few years, then set them aside.

But Diane Paulini and her late husband wrote in their daughters’ baby books long past infancy.

StoryCorps’s mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.

Now, Erin and Kelly are adults, and their mom pulls out the diaries on their birthdays. As the years have passed, those baby books became increasingly precious – and funny – mementos of their late father.

KELLY: The baby diary gives a pretty frank assessment … 'When you were first born, you were bald, and I wasn’t very pretty.'

Kelly, Erin and Diane all laugh.

DIANE:  I wanted it to be honest, I didn’t want to be one of those parents that doesn’t see reality.

Both of her daughters appreciate that.

ERIN: Kelly, don’t you feel like it’s that honesty and realness that made mom such a good mom?

She says her mom built up their self confidence, but also let them know life was tough. That was helpful when their father died when they were still kids.

The baby diaries now show them another side of their late father. He was a devoted family man who’d rather spend time with his wife and daughter than even watch football. But the diaries also show how funny and sarcastic he was.

To hear what he wrote, and what those diaries mean to the family today, check out the audio above.

NOTE: Katie Klocksin and Adam Peindl helped produce this report.