I started my first journal when I was pregnant with my son. I had so much anxiety and anticipation of the future that I felt like I needed to write it all down. Then it slowly took on a life of its own and I started writing as if it was a letter to my soon-to-be son. I wanted a record of his life from my perspective. I wanted him to know how much I adored and admired him through my words.
Why I Journal
If something were to ever happen to me before my kids were old enough to really understand or get to know me I wanted these stories to help them feel close to me. Things we did together, funny things they said or our first adventure together. It all stemmed from my mother’s childhood. It was rough and she was bounced around a lot with gaps of time unaccounted for by pictures or letters and my brother and I only really know bits and pieces of her past.
I started with a few rules for myself:
- My handwriting sucks. Bad. And with the constant use of my laptop and iPad I rarely actually do any handwriting. My first rule was that I didn’t care how bad it looked as long as it was legible. And it would be so much more personable then something I typed. My handwriting is me and reflects my personality and I wanted my child to see that.
- Proper periods, commas and hyphens have no place in my journal. I just write what is in my head and it doesn’t need to be grammatically perfect.
- I journal at no specific time and sometimes I’ll write entries each week or if I get busy it might be 2 months before I add another.
The first 5-10 pages of my children’s journals are a short summary of how I met their dad and our life together before they came along. Then I moved on to the story of their birth. After that it’s a little bit of everything from our daily lives or something they did that was silly or cute.
When I’m not around my journals I will create a note on my iPad or iPhone, just jotting a few notes so I don’t forget that special moment or funny thing they said. Then I copy that in my journal at a later date.
No Scrapbooking Allowed!
Even though I went to art school and I am a very creative person I abhor scrapbooking. It’s entirely too time consuming and way too many supplies and commitment. I collect my memories with words on simple journals I buy at the book store. Nothing more. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself!
I keep my journals in my nightstand with a good quality pen. So at night if I have a thought I can just reach in there and grab them while the memory is still fresh. Although, I am nowhere near out of space in either of my kids journals, when I do fill it up I plan to keep it in the safe place along with their baby books and other keepsakes.
When Do They Read It?
I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I imagine that when my child is a teenager or young adult I will give it to them. I think I’ll know when the time is right.
I love laying in bed at night and writing whatever story comes to my mind about my kids. It’s makes me smile and it’s a relaxing way to end the night. I know I would cherish a journal about my childhood before I even had lasting memories of it. I hope they do too. Now that I am pregnant with baby #3 it’s time to buy another journal!