Journaling a Legacy

Today, I found a journal that I had written in when I was a young mother. We were moving from Hawaii, my daughter was only three years old, and my son was still an infant. What a wonderful memory it brought up! The feelings came over me just like it was that very day. I could almost smell their heads in my mind.

I loved being a mom and enjoyed those days so much. I can’t express how much I relished reading those entries!

I encourage everyone to write in journals. It helps us look back and see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same. It helps us discern what we cannot simply see by going through our everyday lives. Journaling allows for retrospective and introspection, and it can provide a way to see what we want to change or keep the same. It helps us sort our thoughts and perhaps create a plan.

A journal is a written history of our lives that can be looked over and learned from by our present and future selves and perhaps even our children.

Our children have an opportunity to see us through the lens of that age. It’s almost as if time stood still when you read a journal entry.

While I wrote about how wonderful my kids were, I also noted an entry where it had been a hard day, and I was hard on myself regarding my temper. My writing was different on that day, and I could tell I must have been in anguish over the emotions I was going through. More than that, however, I saw I vowed to work on my anger to teach my children how to cope with their anger in the future.

I can only imagine handing that passage in my journal to my daughter as she too experiences a moment when she wonders, “Am I a good mother?” and can only recall how she sees me now. I know she views me as a good mother that did not have many shortcomings. But to see the reality in my writing and my own words will most likely give her comfort. To know that even as fallible as I was in that moment, I still became a good mother that she loves.

I tell my daughter all the time not to compare herself to me as I am the product of many more years of learning and living than she has yet lived. But reading my journal from the perspective of my past in the same situation she is currently living must be so powerful.

I have written before of leaving a legacy and things to pass down to my children that I did not benefit from my parents, and I imagine this is one of those legacy items. I would have given my right arm to have been able to imagine my mother as a young mother and how she coped. Her life was very different from mine, but I would have liked to journey through her past to see her through that lens.

My mother has been deceased for many years, but I still look at pictures of her at my current age and wonder what thoughts she had at that time. It would be nice to “hear” her thoughts through a journal.

So, if you are on the fence about journaling, I urge you to write. Write for you. Write for your children. Write to leave a legacy.

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