First a little back story – Because there is always a back story, right?
I was raised by my grandparents from the age of 6 months old. So they were the only parents that I ever knew. I couldn’t have picked better parents if I had custom ordered the perfect set. I suspect just when they thought they were done raising kids, here I came, needing some parents. They opened their home and heart and started all over. Giving me the most amazing, perfect childhood. Unfortunately I lost my grandpa when I was just 16. So I became even closer with my grandma who couldn’t have been a better mom, even though in her late 50’s had to go back to work to support me and get me through the rest of high school. Though I didn’t realize that’s what it was for until much later in life. Because she would always just say it gave her something to do. Even though she was walking a mile to and from work because she didn’t drive. My beautiful hero!!
Fast forward to 2012 and I lost this beautiful angel I refer to as Nanny. Even today, I think I’m still grieving, and I’m not sure losing a parent ever gets easier. She was the last person who knew me as a child. It seems kind of strange, but the day she passed, so did all those memories that a mother holds of her child. I no longer had anyone who had those childhood memories of me. So my inner child died that day too. Sure, I have a lot of amazing memories, but they are one sided now. After we cleaned out a very packed 4 bedroom home, and I arrived back to my own home with a basement full of stuff that eventually I’d have to go through, I started the search.
What Was I Searching For?
I wanted to find something from Nanny written to me. A letter. A journal entry with a day in her life with me as a bossy, head strong, sassy child ruling her every move. The one she would give a nickel to if I could be quiet for 5 minutes while she tried to cook from a recipe. Also the one she played Barbies and card games with. The one who would allow me to pull out every clean dish and set tables up all over the house so I could play waitress. Only to find out she would have to wash all the dishes again that night. Just one letter. Just one “hey, I know I’m gone, but I left this for you to read … “ letter. Don’t get me wrong, throughout my 40+ years having her for my mom, I got lots of silly poems, funny little notes, and beautiful sentimental hand written cards in the mail. So maybe I was just simply looking for something unrealistic. Or … was it?
So this leads to me to the purpose of this blog. For your daughters sake, for your sons sake, or maybe you don’t even have children yet but then for your future children sake … write it down! All of it. It doesn’t have to be a chore. And it doesn’t have to be daily. Or even monthly. But write down the things that matter. The places you go, the life experiences that you want to share (sad or happy). If you have kids, write down the funny things they say, or the stories that will make them laugh as adults. Just write it all down. Whenever you can. Because they might need that.
For the last 3 years of travel I’ve been keeping a travel log. (Not a journal of memories) Every stop my RV makes, and we spend the night, I log the place, how our cell service was, and a little about the area. But it’s not a journal! It’s just a location. So a few months ago I started to keep a travel journal. One that maybe someday when my kids are ready to take a travel vacation somewhere, they can stand in the same location I did, and feel me there with them. My journal is pretty much written for my girls. In the last 30+ years of being a mom, they surely won’t have to worry about finding hand written things because I made personal scrapbooks for them for years. But a travel journal is different and both of my girls have a wanderlust heart, so there is such a big possibility that someday they’ll stand in the same place, and take the same picture (maybe even on purpose).
My Journal Matters!
It may not matter what kind of journal you buy or if you make one. But in a way, it might matter! I chose a really sturdy, fun journal after seeing one that our friends had. I loved the spiral binding, and the prompts on each page. There are so many to choose from! But here’s the one I fell in love with!
Making it More Fun!
Journals include keepsakes too. Pictures, concert tickets and tour receipts. Use your imagination. Having this little printer is fun! Another amazing idea from our friends! It’s the size of my hand and prints pictures out on stickers you can include in your book. It prints 2×3 sticky backed pictures for you to put right in your book! Remembering the day, the people you were with and a few fun things that make your book a little more personal. You can also pick up some fun little stickers like this, and fill in some of your blank spaces. Or add more pictures!
So write it down! Share your life and thoughts with the future! Kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, maybe even kids you haven’t had yet. It’s very possible when you’re gone, they’ll wander around a basement full of your stuff, searching old coat pockets and stacks of paperwork hoping to find an envelope with something written especially for them.
Be safe, be well, and start 2020 with a journal.