Thursday, March 10, 2011

A deeper appreciation

I am finding, with age, that I value my parents and grandparents more and more.  I value the (little) time I get to spend with them.  I value the memories I have of them from years past.  I value the advice they give me today, and more graciously embrace the advice they gave me yesterday.  And most recently, I value simple facts and details of their lives, and yearn to know more.  My mom has always been an excellent journal keeper.  I remember years and years ago reading in her journal from 1962 when she and my dad first met.  She was 18 years old!  How cool is that?  How many kids get to read and enjoy a glimpse of who their mother was at 18?  She also had a journal for both my brother and me, and we used to sit around the table as a family and read from them.  After reading came the inevitable laughter, and it was just an all around good thing.  She always captured the funniest things and in the most creative way.  One of us would read aloud various quotes from our 3 and 4 year old mouths, display pictures we'd drawn, awards we'd won, clippings of our hair (some of which we had clipped ourselves), and photographs, all of which she had lovingly placed into those journals.  I remember finding so much joy in reading simple facts about me and the baby/toddler/little girl I was.  Whether I realized it or not, I did value the time and determination my mom gave in providing my brother and me with that documentation of our early years.  And whether it was a conscious decision I made or just something that was ingrained into me, I knew from a very young age that I needed to provide my children with the same type of treasure my mom had provided for us. 

Journal keeping, in a literal sense, was never my strength, nor was it something I much enjoyed.  I just didn't recognize the value in it as a teenager.  And even after Neil and I got married I didn't think that the every day happenings of our lives were spectacular enough to write about.  Now that I've discovered the thrill of hearing simply, "every day" stories about my grandparents and other family members who have passed on, I'm kicking myself for not starting my own history sooner.  It's certainly never too late, and I am grateful that this blog, which truly does contain the "every day" of my life for the last 3 1/2 years will be around in years to come when, perhaps, I can sit at the table with my own family and laugh over the silly things I took the time to write down which otherwise would have been long forgotten.

If Chloe is anything like me when she turns 29, she will value the things I have to say now.  She will value my memories of loved ones.  She will value what I've learned from my mother which has partially molded me into the mother I am.  She will value the things I've said about her, the confidence I have in her and the love I have for her.  That said, I am going to make a more conscious effort to document special memories of and facts about my parents, Neil's parents, my grandparents, Neil's grandparents and whatever other extended family members I might feel so inclined to write about.  I will need Neil's help with some of this, but I'm looking forward to it.  We have been commanded to document.  President Spencer W. Kimball said, in the October 1975 New Era, while emphasizing to the youth of the Church the importance of keeping a journal:

“Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events.”

There is always something to write about, especially when you live in a house with small children who are learning, growing and changing every day.  I am grateful for an incredible family to build memories with, learn from, and write about; for parents, a 94-year-old grandmother, an awesome brother and countless other family members, all from whom I can learn many things.  And I'm going to make a greater effort to document the little bits and pieces of them here so that my own children will always have a record of the incredible family from which they came.


sisters of stetson hills said...

Love your post!! Journal writing is so important but sometimes hard to take the time to do it.

It's funny because Derek just challenged the two of us to a journal competition. Whoever writes in their journal the most in 30 days wins an amazing prize. Of course, we also hope this will help us make journal writing a new continual habit.

Keep it up, you can do it! :)

Angie said...

Oops, I signed in as Sister of Stetson Hills. :) Big hugs!


Jill Halliday said...

So beautifully expressed, honey. I'm so glad, and so grateful, that you are aware of the great blessings which come from keeping a journal. Your own blogposts are treasures which will never be forgotten, by Chloe, Ryan, and so many others. I cannot even begin to tell you the magnitude of the blessing journal-keeping is in my own life. Dad and I have spent many happy hours as I've read aloud to him from the journals he's kept just since we moved back home to Salt Lake. They contain so many details of things we'd otherwise have forgotten.

Thank you so much for capturing the essence of what keeping journals has meant (and means) in our family. I hope your words help someone else catch the spirit of journal-keeping. It will bring them joy :). So proud of you! I love you!