Perhaps it’s not surprising that I have been journaling since I was a young child. Really, ever since I can remember.
My mother kept most everything I ever wrote, so when I need a good chuckle or a trip down memory lane, I always have material.
Though I have also kept journals during my nearly 22 years of marriage, I never really thought about looking back at the numerous journals that are jammed in a box in my closet. During a recent "closet purge" I stumbled on the box of colorful journals of all shapes and sizes, and sat down and began reading. All I can say is there went the afternoon.
One of the earliest journal entries was from the summer of 1990, shortly after my husband Paul and I got married and moved to Forsyth County. One entry read, "I am really lonely out here. I feel like the city mouse who got lost in the country. All my life I dreamed of living out in the country, and now that I am here, I don’t fit in."
That brought back a whole host of memories from when we first moved to the county, and calling Atlanta was long distance. Add to that, Domino’s Pizza didn’t even deliver. I was truly a fish out of water.
Of course, time moved on, and even during those early months I have plenty of wonderful memories. I read in my journal about the time I planted my first garden, entirely too big for me to tend.
There were numerous entries about my new life outside of the city, such as the time when our little dog was bitten in the face by a big snake and I was home alone and terrified. I rushed him to the veterinarian, where I was told he would be just fine with just a little antihistamine.
How sweet is my journal entry about finding out we were pregnant with our first child. I wrote, "How blessed am I to have found my true love and now we will have a baby! I plan on reading everything ever written on raising a baby so I will be prepared."
Ha! Now that truly is comedic writing. When our first son was born, my entry chronicled his birth and how it was the first time I saw my husband cry. I am tearing up as I write this just remembering that scene.
Fast forward barely to the entry when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. I didn’t believe my doctor since I already had a baby. They had to do an ultrasound to prove it to me. Our daughter was born just 13 months after our son.
The journal entries that followed were much more chaotic in nature, as my life became a crazy mixture of babies, diapers, illnesses, temper tantrums, laughter, tears and all things babies.
We soon welcomed two other children to the world, and in the meantime tried to foster our young marriage so that when and if we ever did surface from the chaos, there would indeed still be a marriage.
There was one journal I didn’t read. That is the one I kept when our second child was in a serious horseback riding accident and was hospitalized for two weeks followed by months in careful recovery.
That entire ordeal was so painful for all of us, and my only real link to the world seemed to be my journal as I was by her side 24/7. Whenever she slept or was quiet, I scribbled furiously in my journal, chronicling everything that was happening, including the horrors my sweet 11-year-old endured. Even after eight years, I am still not ready to read those words.
Of course, there are countless entries about my husband, and it is quite humorous to read about our arguments when we were that young couple, so full of energy and life.
I know many people say they are not writers, so they would not be good at journaling. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All you’re really doing is putting down your thoughts and what is going on. Think about how precious your words will be to your loved ones when you are gone.
I would give anything to read my fathers’ words from when he was alive and not sick. He was so wise and funny. I would love to read about what he thought and why.
Even if you take some time right now and pen your memories, I promise that your words will bless someone one day and will no doubt be a blessing to you as you meander down memory lane on paper.
Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.