In Her Words

Write Journals to your children - never too late to start | Slightly Off Kilter

I love Pinterest.  I do.  But if Pinterest had been around when I was raising babies, it may have made me more insane than…. well… than I am now.
Since my boys were already 8 & 10 when Pinterest came out, they didn’t have the fancy schmancy nursey… and I was too busy wiping butts and figuring out how to be a mom to worry about the perfect way to capture each moment on film in a way that would make any photog jealous…

And then there was that whole divorce thing we were all dealing with when they were littles so the fact that I didn’t plan perfectly themed birthday parties or make the perfect goody bags for their teachers slipped my mind for a while.

But when I discovered Pinterest, one idea stuck with me as something I should have done and I’ve lamented the fact that I didn’t start on it sooner.

Write letters.  To my boys. To capture the moments that I’m sure to forget as more and more life fills the recesses of my brain.

They are teens now… surely I’m too late…

That’s the little voice inside that often reminds me that the brilliant idea I’m having is remarkably less brilliant than I imagined. I actively have to tell that voice to STFU.

Too late for what? Is there a time limit on when words should/could be spoken/written?

Then this weekend, my mom handed me a book with a simple request – “Read this.”

The journal she handed me was a beautiful leather bound book – navy with a scroll and floral motif in shades of white and gold. There was no title or author listed on the front but as I cracked the pages open I knew. This was the book my grandmother wrote to my mom. There were only a handful of pages written but the love that poured forth from them warmed my heart.

I glanced at the date on the top of the first page – Dec 18, 1989. My mother would have been 39 years old. The day itself has no significance whatsoever to my knowledge. In a few scrawls of a pen, my Gramma had squashed my theory that I waited too long to transcribe my memories and thoughts… that there had to be any rhyme or reason past “DO IT”.

She opened with a beautiful sentiment about how it strikes her as important to share our thoughts and memories before they leave us. As a woman caring for my Alzheimer’s riddled Grampa, she knew that feeling far too intimately. She went on to talk about the birth of my mother and the trials and tribulations of the early years of marriage… It’s a story about my mother but most of all, it’s a story about my grandparents. A story that would have never lasted had it not been for the written word. And towards then end was even a cameo appearance of my father and talk of how suddenly Mom was more inclined to attend track meets instead of basketball games.

As her pen moved through the pages, Gramma’s voice rang clear as could be in my mind and the descriptions of her and Grampa’s early life brought them both back to life in a way that mere memories never could. She spoke of the years when they didn’t even have a stove and cooked on a hot plate and colic…of regrets and choices. She spoke most of all of love.

I’m sure there were more thoughts and memories that didn’t make it into the book… with four children to write for, choices, I’m sure, had to be made. But in truth it wasn’t even the words. It was the sometimes illegible handwriting and side notes… it was the time it took her to jot down the words… it was the humanizing of my Gramma and Grampa that touched me most. So whether today or tomorrow or next year, books will be started for the boys. They won’t be perfect… and in part I’m glad I waited…. I can only imagine what those books would have said if I were writing them in the midst of the divorce, so time is our friend. Whether one page or hundreds, they will be filled with love so that someday, when they need it, they will feel that love radiating out of the pages and know that they matter. They always have. They always will. They are the best thing I’ve ever done and have transformed my life in a way I could have never imagined.

So what about you? Do you have some sort of memory book or keepsake that you have for your kids? Will you start one?



  1. So beautifully said!!!

  2. Sometimes I wish Pinterest weren’t around….soo much pressure! lol!

  3. What a wonderful idea. Now I definitely want to start doing it! I have the perfect journal sitting empty at home in a drawer. I have no excuse!

    • The best part is that there really are no rules… write what you can when you can… I’m glad that you found a use for your journal – pages should never remain blank 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. This is beautiful and a wonderful reminder to all of us. When they are little it is so hard to get everything done….life gets in the way. I will ponder how to get this done also. Thanks again.

  5. We asked Phee’s grandparents to write things for her. It was actually a little scrapbook type thing that we gave them around the time she was born. To date, none of them have sent it back. I should probably get on that, though I often forget myself. And, as in all things, it’s never too late. Start writing!

    • I had baby books for each of the boys… lost those during the divorce I believe but this is somehow a great replacement. and there’s something about words from a mother to her child that is so intimate.

  6. Beautifully, wonderfully said. A great reminder that it’s never too late to begin something you want to do.

    • Thanks Nick… You would appreciate some of the book more than most – like the part where Gramma talks about how Mom would play with one toy at a time and then was to put it back before getting a new one. A place for everything and everything in it;s place suddenly makes so much more sense 🙂

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