Before we knew Emma was Emma, I began writing to her. I wrote to my baby about how excited I was for him or her to be here. How I couldn’t wait to be a mom and enjoy all the things that came with being a mom. I wrote about every bump, kick, or squirm I felt along the way. Anything and everything I could think about, I wrote. I unveiled that she was a girl in her journal, even though I’m pretty sure she’ll know that she is a girl. Ha! I think it’s important for all mommies to keep a journal to their little ones, boy or girl. My mom always kept a journal about me. When I grew and got married, my mom gave it to me but it wasn’t the first time I had read it. No, I would spend hours at a time reading what she had written in my journal as I was growing up. I know the majority of my childhood stories from reading my journal. It always meant so very much to me and I wanted to share some reasons for why we’re doing the same thing for Emma.
I want Emma to know about herself as she grows up. During the process of growing from a child to a teenager and from a teenager to an adult, you are about 20 different people. Seriously, I don’t even remember being the same person I was when I was 13 or what I was even thinking when I did some of the things I did. Growing up is hard to remember and it’s almost like you’re looking back and reading about someone different. It’s like a good story and makes it extra special that it’s about YOU. I always recall looking back at what happened to me while I was growing up and wondering how, what, when and where, and the journal my mom kept for me answers so many of those questions. I am able to have quite a chuckle reading about myself and wondering what in the world I was thinking. Really. What in THE WORLD was I thinking? My poor parents.
I want Emma to know she matters and always did. I began writing about Emma when she was just a few weeks old (in my belly). I wrote about her traveling to France with me when I was 19 weeks pregnant. I wrote about going on vacation with her when I was 8 months. I wrote about delivering her in the hospital and when we saw and heard her for the first time. I have written about the first time she held herself up, the first time she stood, the first words she said, and the first foods she ate. I have written countless times how much I love her to the point it might make her sick. And the fun part is we’re not even done. There is so much more to write. Her first steps, her first sentence, her first day of school, her first friend, her first boyfriend, and the day she gets married. Her life needs to be documented just like, if not more than, the biography of a celebrity. She is a celebrity to us and we want to remember everything from her life.
It’s a timeline for her. She’s able to see what her life was like and when she grew up. Times change and they change quickly. The things we will do with her now may not even be around when she’s older. There were so many things I use to do with my family that doesn’t even exist anymore but the memories are there and the timeline was created. My brother, Erick, and I were both born at Bristol Regional when it was near the mall. I still remember my mom working there and going to pick her up after work. We spent countless Saturday mornings at Krispy Kreme. We probably kept them in business there for awhile. We loved that hospital and were devastated when they decided to build a new hospital and move that one. A piece of our life was gone. Mom wrote about so many memories we had going with her to work that it is forever engrained in my memory. Mom found this picture the other day of the hospital. I plan on printing it off and putting it in my journal.
It will end a chapter of our lives. The last day my mom wrote to me in my journal was the day I got married and then she gave it to me. It was like a good story was written and a new book would be beginning. It was so true. When Emma was born I knew I wanted to create the same thing for her. My mom spent 23 years documenting my life for me, when I was too young to remember it or too busy living to realize how much I would forget. My life is in that journal. My memories are there. My mom poured energy into making sure that my life was known and appreciated. With every end comes a new beginning and I’m so excited to do the same for Emma and then her carry on the tradition with her child. It will be neat as Emma grows to compare her to me as a child and see our similarities and differences. It will be great to read her stories from her journal or catch her in my bedroom reading it in my bed.
Many chapters of my life were put together due to that journal and I am so grateful that my mom cared enough to write about me. Now that I have a daughter I am able to notice what kind of work goes into making it happen. It’s certainly not easy to find time to write on a regular basis and as Emma grows, the time gets harder and harder to find. I make a point to write down milestones and update certain pages (words she says, food she’s eaten, etc). I know now how much work my mom put into making my life matter and I am so glad she did. I have been given a wonderful gift to pass down to my daughter and one that I can continue for her. A lifetime of memories will be created for us to share and read together and with her children in years to come.
Did you/do you keep a journal for your kids? Do they know about it? What do they think about it?