Journaling a Childhood
Preserving memories is important, but I’m not a scrapbooker. Most of our pictures wait for my attention in a box, an archivally sound box but a box nonetheless. Our traditional baby books contain more blanks than milestones. One thing I did do to record precious moments from my children’s lives, however, is keep a journal for each one of them.
The idea isn’t original to me. A sitcom mom in a TV program I watched years before I met my future husband inspired me to journal memories for my future children.
Six months after Anna was born, when she finally napped on a regular schedule, I opened a blank book with a rose on the front cover and wrote as much as I could before her big brown eyes blinked the end of naptime.
I never wrote every day. Sometimes I managed once a month. Later, when she acquired three siblings and soccer, dance, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and church groups filled our days and nights, I might write only once a year during our vacation, writing from notes that filled in spotty memory gaps.
I wrote the journals directly to the owner of the book as if I were having a conversation. “You can say, ‘Mama’, ‘Dada’, ‘off’, ‘eye’, ‘mine,’ and ‘no’” You’re so excited to go to pre-school.” “Woo hooooo! New driver in the house! Good job!”
I tried to cover major events like birthdays, holidays, and soccer goals, but it was important to me to get in everyday normal happenings also. “Your sense of humor is continuing to develop. You walk by and jab me in the side to make me jump.” “You had a tough school year, but you made it through with much, much prayer. Mrs. Xxxx might be happier in a different profession, but we are finished with her and happy to be so.”
Writing these journals gave me great joy. I loved putting my take on what was happening in their lives and making sure they knew how much I adored them and treasured being their mother. Encouraging words were also an important theme like, “God has something special for you whenever He denies your request”—a paraphrase from my current Bible study for Lane’s most recent entry.
I have just a few months left to keep the last of the journals because Lane and Quinn are high school seniors this year. So, like I did with their sisters, I’ll finish my entries and leave them as gifts when we move the boys into their college dorms.
Maybe then I can be more faithful to my own journal…, but it probaaly won’t be as much fun.