“You’re going to want to write it down. All of it.”
My friend, a mother herself, smiled knowingly as she presented the journal she’d fashioned from an old marble copybook. It bumped my pregnant belly as she handed it to me. Everything bumped my belly in my ninth month of pregnancy.
She turned out to be right. I spent hours hunched over that journal during my oldest son’s first year of life. When I flip through its pages now, it’s a testimonial both of his growth and of my transition–emotional and anxious–to mother. Is he OK? Am I OK? Am I doing any of this right?
When my second son was born, the journal was store bought and smaller in scale. The entries were just as fraught with emotion. They hinted at a growing maternal confidence. But they were documented much less frequently. He seems OK. Are we OK? Am I doing more right than wrong?
In the haze after my third son arrived, I scribbled down the details, “9lbs 2 oz, 23 ½ inches,” ripped the note off its pad and slapped it on top of his brothers’ journals on my nightstand. That’s the closest I came to a journal entry with him.
And, no. My fourth son didn’t even get the impersonal stats on a loose-leaf sheet.
Over time, I have accumulated a stack of sticky notes. Here is what they say:
“Paw-crits = paw-prints“
“Fun-quints = footprints”
“Ge-go = here you go”
“What o’clock is it = what time is it”
“Ya got crumbs = Do you need to shave”
“Leepeet = syrup”
“Lasterday = yesterday or any day before today”
All phrases coined by my kids at different ages. Journal-worthy. Indelible.
Individually, each captures a moment in time.
Together, it feels as though they are all that is left of my favorite years with my babies.
They belong in a journal.
Soon I will have one.
This is Childhood contains heartfelt essays about every year of the first decade of childhood. It provides writing prompts for those times when the words need some coaxing.
I finally took the time to write about my sweet third born. He was the inspiration for the book’s Age Six. I’m so proud to be a part of this collection and have my words sandwiched among those of so many beautiful writers.
This is Childhood is a perfect gift for Mother’s Day.
Somebody please tell my husband;-)
Because I still want to write it down. All of it.
Write in all down – indeed. Thank god for blogging! And for meeting you. xoxoxo
Maybe I’ll just print the pages of my blog off and shove them into the journal. That’s really more my style. XOXOXO
Bethany! This post gave me CHILLS! This is what this project is all about! So over the moon to write it down beside you! xo
I can finally get the sticky note contents transcribed onto the pages of an actual journal where they belong! Love that it brought us together! XO
Friend. I’m grateful. For all of this, for all of us. For you. xo
Me too!!!! XO
Congratulations! I’m so happy for you Beth. I can’t wait to read this one too. Now, stop making me feel guilty about not having enough time to read all your cool new shit as I watch the side of my bed stand get bigger with stacks of books I so desperately want to read because you always make me laugh out loud and I LOVE it!!!! – I need that laughter….but I have SO many people to take care of. ( 4 kids and one crazy cool hubby ) Thanks for being so cool & keep the good stuff coming. Even if I have to place myself in time out or lock myself in the closet to get a hit of your book. Never stop Beth, never.
You are the dearest sweetheart, and I love that you are in my life, Freedom! XOXO
Love this prose. As a mom of three little ones, I went through this same process – so much writing about the first child, and barely any for the third! Funny how that is. But the writing that I do now is different anyway, as it is coming from a place of experience and more confident judgement. It’s not that “am I okay, is she okay?” stuff anymore. So I am fine with writing less for the third one, because in some ways I didn’t need to write as much, and I processed the joy of her infancy in a different way.
And, Lea, I’ll go back and read some of the stuff I’ve written about my first, and it’s very “Am I OK, is he OK?” and details his diapers contents. I was like a scientist reporting my findings instead of a mother detailing her journey. Sleep deprivation will do that to a girl.