It’s semi-ironic that I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but can remember every detail of today’s date 28 years ago.
The day my father died.
The last several years have passed with another story told, or a silent “here’s to you, dad” toast. This year is different. Maybe because next year my daughter will be the same age I was. I suspect next year will be worse.
Especially watching my kids grow, I suddenly have more questions, and more frustrations.
My dad was a gifted athlete, who never saw my son hit a home run. A swimmer who wasn’t here to teach my daughter to swim the width of the pool underwater as a toddler- the way he did for me & my sister.
What were his hopes and dreams for me? What were his favorite moments as parent? Which were the worst?
I’m thankful my kids have doting grandparents, aunts, and uncles. But I can’t help thinking about the one missing.
While cleaning out a drawer the other day, I found a notebook I started when the kids were little. Funny quotes they’d said, barely decipherable drawings, first attempts at writing their names, and the first “I hate you” note was tucked inside. The sting has subsided a bit over the years.
As the kids grow, every year has its challenges. We sometimes forget the earlier ones, probably so we can make it through the current drama. Later, grandparents retell the story with a whimsical laugh “Oh, you cried 14 hours a day, and we could never put you down!” What I’d love to see are some of their thoughts while encountering that nightmare.
While we can’t truly write the past, we can start now. Journal with (or for) your kids and grandkids. Your hopes/dreams for yourself and for them. Your fears, favorite memories, and favorite foods. My daughter and I started keeping a silent spiral. Essentially, a place for her to ask questions or voice concerns that she isn’t ready to ask face to face. And, sometimes just to say hello & see if I still check it!
I love the handmade projects they bring home from school, but I know I most cherish my mother’s day journal. Each year they’ve drawn a picture or written a letter to me: changing immensely through the years.
Losing a parent as a child obviously shapes the person we become, but even more so, so does the single parent. As much as I miss my dad, I admire my mom more each year. I know I’ll never fully understand her experience, but I see it in a different light now, especially since I’m now almost the age she became a widow.
For what it’s worth, here’s my unsolicited advice…create more memories. Put down the remote, dust off the bike, go for a walk. Talk. Listen. And then journal a bit of it. Someone will be grateful that you did.
Daily Green Special: All of our banana paper journals are buy one get one free. Just write “memories” in the checkout notes and we’ll add the free journal to your order. Offer valid until tomorrow’s post. Happy Thursday.