One of the things I’m proudest of is that I’ve kept journals for both my children since they arrived. It used to be hard, 27 years ago to find neat blank books to write in. Now there are buckets of choices in every bookstore.
When we traveled I was always on the lookout for blank books. In the picture is the blue one for my son who is the oldest, purchased on a family trip to San Francisco. The brown one with a ribbon was purchased on another family trip for my daughter. These are the books I currently am filling as I observe my children as young adults. I don’t write constantly, only when it matters.
So there is a collection of journals kept in a pillowcase on the third floor at my office. The kids know I write in them. They will only take over ownership in their 30’s when I know there is greater likelihood they will be treasured and cared for.
I write about their accomplishments & mistakes. I write about their funny moments as little ones. I share both what’s hard about parenting & my favorite aspects. When they were kids I’d take pictures when they cried fiercely, not just the winning smiles, it’s all about being real.
I get their Dad to write (usually under protest) even though he felt he didn’t have a lot to add to what was already said. I invited some favorite relatives, a couple of teachers & friends to add entrys. I love the contrast of other people’s handwriting on the pages.
It’s another way to be connected. It’s a way to capture memories while they’re still fresh. It’s a way to talk about difficult things that they might be too young to understand now. It’s a way to describe what’s important to you while you’re still living it.
It’s a way to tell your own stories that have shaped your life, to help them see who you are. It’s a way to share how you see them as they grow up and how they change. Paying detailed attention in words over time is another way to say “I love you”, even when you’re no longer around.