Writing your memories

Originally uploaded by juliecinci

Johannah graduated from high school in June. On Saturday we celebrated her admission to the Ohio State University with a big party. (That girl has friends! They came by the dozens…)

At the end of the day, my mother who had flown out from California, my mother, author of the Help Lord! I’m Having a Senior Moment books, gave Johannah her graduation gift. As Johannah unwrapped it, she assumed the sunflower covered book was blank for recording her college experiences. But on closer inspection, she discovered that inside were entries written by my mother (her grandmother) that went all the way back to 1995. My mom has been making entries in similar books for each of our kids. She writes an entry each time she returns from a visit.

Johannah was blown away. She hadn’t known.

Unlike gifts of money (much appreciated) and dorm stuff (much needed), this gift came from the heart (much more meaningful). I had done the same thing for Johannah in her baby book from birth through age seven. Together, these two sources of journaled memories gave Johannah not only a glimpse into what her life was like as a child, but also what her grandmother and mother were like as they watched her grow up. What did we enjoy? How did we express it? What mattered to us?

I haven’t always been consistent in journaling my kids’ lives. (My mom has – she’s more like that than me. Rats! Where did that gene go?) But any time I’ve taken the time to write down my heart for my kids, I know I’ve done something worthwhile.

Go get that baby book and add to it today. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Responses to “Writing your memories”

  1. Sandy says:

    What a precious gift. It brought a few tears over here and you can be sure that I’ll be doing some writing today.

  2. Irene says:

    I have done this with my four children over 17 years. Certainly the entries have come farther and farther between! My son used to tell me he thought he was adopted, and we would argue over it so many times. One night I was just sick of him telling me I had not given birth to him in the doorway of my townhouse, which was documented in the newspaper (he said it was another child that I had traded for him), so I went and got the “baby journal” I had kept for 8 or 9 years on him. I handed it to him, and he turned the light back on and read from beginning to the end. There was never another word about whether or not he was my own true son. Recently my “baby,” now 10 years old, found her journal and added her own note at the place where I last left off: “Please write neater or I will not be able to read this later!”

  3. Sonya says:

    This is so timely for me, because I have a question right now about this. Over time, I have started and stopped probably ten different journals about mothering/my children/our everyday lives. I want very much to document the things we do, the lives we share, the moments. But I have two kids, still young, and we homeschool. And we do lots of neat things. I am curious to know if others keep a journal for each child, or a family journal, or a mother’s journal, or just keep everything all in one book. At first I started keeping a journal for each child, but then I thought maybe it would be better to go back and read about themselves within the context of the rest of the family. Plus, when we take trips or have an interesting day, I would want to write about it in both books. Then I also want to keep a journal for myself, about mothering and my daily life, because I just want to remember this time, but also because it is a good way for me to process. I don’t necessarily want them to later have to sift through the venting, not-so-fun entries to also get “child number 2 made it across the monkey bars today!”
    Do you have any suggestions? Family journal? Journal for each child? Mom’s journal?
    I’d be grateful for any suggestions, as I’m feeling stuck and therefore not doing anything!

  4. Irene says:

    My grandmother wrote one called “The Wedding Book.” It is much more a broad journal of her life and thinking than a relating of the development of her children, but it is precious to us. However, not, I think, so precious as would have been a book focusing on my Dad. I would much rather know what she would have to say about him than the other subjects she addressed, such as politics and current events. However, the best journal is the one you actually write in. All of yours will have meaning to both you and your family. You probably like variety, so don’t feel bad about not sticking to one book,or them having to sift. However you do it will be the record of yourself. It will be profoundly valued at some time.

  5. No_limits22 says:

    Greg Mendel is also, by huge coincidence, the name of the Augustinian monk who is credited with being the father of modern genetics. ,