3 March 2016

an incredible treasure

the night before my wedding, i receieved the most amazing gift – a simple and tattered item that is among my greatest, dearest, most beloved treasures on this earth.

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for decades, my mother kept nine nearly identical hardbound journals on a shelf in the den/office of our house. growing up, i remember finding her sitting there from time to time on the couch, serene and thoughtful, writing. i (along with each of my siblings) always knew that one of those volumes was being specially filled in just for me, and that i couldn’t peek at it until it was gifted to me on the eve of my wedding. for twenty eight years i looked forward to exploring what we called “my book.”

among the craziness of the wedding, transitioning into marriage, traveling and moving, i only managed to have a few skims through this cherished gift – until a couple of months ago, when i sat down on my couch and  spent nearly an hour reading and sobbing. my heart was absolutely overflowing with love and joy and awe at the beauty of life and family as i flipped those sacred pages.

the very first page includes this poem that my dad wrote the night of my birth:

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and on the turned page is the first entry, written by my mom the next day. the following pages include pictures and notes from a loving mother chronicling my life from babyhood…

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…into toddlerhood (and occasionally my dad would write a tender, wonderful page or two)…

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…into childhood.

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taped in among the pictures and words were letters that others wrote me, certificates, artwork, random schoolwork – like this hilarious elementary school poem about my perfect man (my mom read this aloud at our family party the night before our wedding, which was perfect! so glad i found my perfect man – ha!) :

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the dated entries continue through my high school years and then college years…

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and end with a note from both parents in october 2014, days before my wedding.

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what a spectacular treasure “my book” is - the story of my life as seen from my loving and beloved parents’ eyes. it’s a treasure trove of memories and the most cherished relationships.

i’ve always known i want to create something similar to “my book” for my own children, but i wasn’t sure what format that should take. i knew i wanted to put pen to paper rather than create something digitally, but i was overwhelmed by a completely blank journal like my mom used, and didn’t like the looks of or prompts in the uber-cheesy baby books i saw at store.

then i learned that my old friend jayne had started a new company featuring really beautiful journals that include lovely, sensible prompts as well as lots of blank space for words, photos and momentos. and i knew i’d found the perfect little package for what my kids will one day treasure as “their books.”

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jayne sent me a promptly journal and i absolutely adore it. i’m so excited about starting to fill it in (although i clearly haven’t gotten very far…) and having a wonderful guide to help me document my little one’s lives.

each promptly journal begins with a family tree…

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… and then has sections for each trimester of pregnancy …

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… a place to include all the details from a baby’s birth …

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… and then month-by-month sections for the first year and year-by-year sections for the next seventeen years!

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there’s spots for sticking in photos and artwork, and i think the balance of age-appropriate prompts and blank lined pages is just right.

a lot of love is going to go into the promptly journals i fill in for my children, starting right now with pregnancy notes for baby boy! i hope i can create a treasure as special as what my mom (and dad) created for me.

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12 comments :

  1. What a beautiful gift.

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  2. I love that format. I started a journal when I found out I was expecting my son. I need to be more consistent writing in it for him, and I think I will start adding pictures. He has colored in it which just adds memories. Thanks for sharing the journal you are you.

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  3. This touches my heart. I have done the same for each of my children. The memories, the pictures, the accomplishments, the sorrows, the joys, ----all document. It was so worth my time and energy. Priceless!

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  4. Yikes, what if you never married? Or is that just not an option?

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    1. Oh, as a 50-year-old who has yet to be married, I think it would be even more touching for my mother to have continued writing in a journal for me during years that may have felt like a wilderness...and from that same age-and-circumstance perspective, I will say that others can deride "marriage or bust" as an attitude that is less evolved/enlightened/what-have-you, but living the alternative - even busily and with many fulfilling experiences - is definitely a lonely business far too much of the time. I will cherish my friends to my dying day for filling so much of the void - but they simply don't fill it all.

      Charity, I love that your mom had the idea to do this for each of her children - and the discipline to keep them all going! Very cool that writing/documenting was a priority for her - and not just until the novelty of the first couple journals might wear off, ha! A wonderful gift.

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  5. Love that you love that book Charity. It preserved a lot of memories for me too! I carried it around the world several times so I could work on it on the long plane trips. Anonymous, our oldest son isn't married and he has his book. I think he likes it almost s much as Charity does.

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  6. i love love love this idea! and i love you!

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  7. Charity I love this idea! On a totally unrelated note though, where oh where did you get that chair? Please say online and not in the UK only! :)

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    1. we got it at made, which i think is a uk-only store :( check out their website though - maybe they do ship elsewhere.

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    2. Thank you! I'll have to check it out! :)

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  8. I absolutely love this idea. A book of pure love from parents to child. Off to look and see if I can order the journal to be delivered here in the UK. I have friends who would love this.Thank you for sharing this

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