As my good friend Brandie once pointed out, there is just no way to keep every single little trinket, goodie bag gift, and scrap of paper that our kiddos bring home. And she’s right. If I did, I think my daughter’s room would be so full of junk that she would have to wade through it to get to her bed. Sort of like Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who would not take the garbage out. Remember that poem?
I clean out the kid’s rooms regularly. I organize Legos, I build Goldie Blox with Ayla to make sure we have all the pieces, and goodness knows, we read.
I have passed on toys, dolls, clothes, furniture, and even books. What I haven’t gotten rid of her are journals. Every single lined notebook, pretty blank book, and hard cover sketchbook. They take up space. They are junky and cluttered. But I just cannot get rid of them.
As I get older, I might forget what she was intending to write or depict with her jumbled letters and stick figures. I won’t remember every detail about every entry. Like the time she drew a one-legged stick figure and called him small one. She said small one would save us all, which I’m pretty sure she got from the Christmas cartoon “Small One” about the donkey who carried Mary into Bethlehem. That is too precious to part with.
She started writing love notes at one point. She has several notebooks that she wrote our names in over and over, with hearts and lots of pink marker. Hard evidence that our daughter, at one time in her life, was crazy about us.
What’s the thing you can’t get rid of? Where do you keep it? More importantly, do you ever have the thought that you “should” get rid of it/them? Or do you just accept that this particular object or collection is going to be with you always?
When Jude was a baby he would wake up early and eat and then go back to sleep. During that window of time, usually between 7 and 8am, Ayla would get up. That used to be my journaling time and she would crawl in bed with me with her own little journal. And we would write together.
If I’m honest with myself, that’s why I won’t get rid of the journals she keeps. Because they represent something special that we did together. Isn’t that why we keep anything?
I am saving her childhood journals and they will be a part of my legacy. If she chooses, they’ll be a part of hers too. The gift that keeps on giving.
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Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit saramarchessault.com.