Journaling Then and Now
While Quinn has been enduring Cadet Basic Training for the past five weeks, he’s shared with us the pages of his journal. We receive an update about once a week. We treasure all the details of his new life as a “soldier scholar.”
I’ve kept journals sporadically all my life. I wish I’d been more faithful to writing them. It’d be fun to look back at them now that my memory is fading little by little.
Both Anna and Hattie have kept wonderful travel journals starting when they were nine and seven and we took our first home exchange. The summer after that trip, we read theirs and mine at dinner every night to recreate the trip and prompt discussion of memories.
Lane and Quinn keep prayer journals and have for years.
Quinn has kept a journal since he was five years old. He started with a journal from Disney World.
We’d given them ten dollars to spend any way they wanted. During a shopping excursions, Quinn approached me with a notebook. The cover was as cool as a notebook could be with Winnie the Pooh’s face embedded in soft, gold fur on the front. Solid fur on the back. Beautiful.
I flipped it over and admired it but gasped when I spied the price tag. Nine dollars. Pretty much his entire spending money.
“Quinn,” I said, “This is a nice notebook, but we can get one for about fifty cents at home, and you can buy something else.”
“No. I want to keep a journal in it, and I want to start today.”
How could my English teacher/sporadic writer self refuse that argument?
He bought the book and started writing that night. “Day 1. The worst day of the week. It rained and rain.(sic)
His only stipulation to writing was his entry was something different each day. “Day 36. Today I lost a tooth at school!” My journal entry might have read, “Thank Goodness I didn’t have to pull it out.”
“Day 93. Today I got a duck!” This duck business happened because I was experiencing moving guilt and hoping the ducks—one for each child—would somehow help the transition.
He was faithful to keeping a journal for one thousand days. That day fell on Christmas Day 2004. After the Christmas presents had been explored, the breakfast casserole eaten, we gave Quinn a special gift for completing such a tremendous feat, a box set of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.
Today his entries are different. “Today I qualified as a sharp shooter, making 33 out of 40 targets.” That’s with an M16.
“We stood in formation at parade rest for 2 1/2 hours waiting for a urine test.”
“Today we got to sleep late to 5:15. Yay sleep!!!”
The entries are quite different, but I am thankful for them. They’re precious and give us insight to what he’s experiencing.
Thank Goodness for that Winnie the Pooh journal that started him on a journaling life.