This illustration is by AVE Handmade. Lovely isn’t it!
Yesterday was the munchkin’s birthday. We went to the Aquarium. He got some really cool presents. We had cake. I totally enjoyed helping him build his new Lego Space Shuttle.
I also gave him another gift – a love letter – which I read to him before bed, instead of this week’s literary adventure, Peter Pan.
I cannot claim the idea. During the week, I found a beautiful blog called Mothers Love Letters. Each week, since shortly before the birth of her child, Lina has written a love letter on this blog. In it she explores all of life’s big questions, explaining them gently and lovingly to her still very tiny babe.
Last week I wrote about interviewing your child or recording the funny things they do and say. This week’s Journal Journey is all about you. Becoming a parent is a HUGE change, not only to your sleep patterns, but in the complete way you view the world. Most women (and probably men as well) discover that EVERYTHING takes on so much more meaning after they become parents – and will sob over little things that had never affected them before. Empathy kicks in big time.
Keeping a journal to help you track your thoughts and reflect on them can help you ride the emotional rollercoaster.
Writing love letters to your child is only one way you can keep a Parents’ Journal, but it is an effective one. And you don’t need to start on the day they were born, like Lina did. As she said in her reply to my comment, “JUST START”. A birthday, milestone, special event or even just having a lovely day together, offers the perfect excuse.
Don’t forget, teens (and probably even adult children) will love it just as much as little ones. I remember receiving “love letters” from my parents on youth group camps when I was about 15. Being 15 is tough, so knowing that you are loved and accepted by your parents can make all difference. Make sure you include examples of times when you have been proud of them, or have felt especially close to them. This is not the time to question their music tastes or their levels of tidiness! It’s not a miracle cure though. If things have not been going swimmingly, it will probably take plenty of time and persistence.
Of course, you may choose not to write your Parents’ Journal in the form of love letters. There’s the traditional journal or blog, or you could keep a Gratitude book, noting down 1-5 short things every day for which you are grateful to your child. There are even a number of smart phone apps you can use.
In fact, you needn’t even use writing. You could choose any other creative format such as painting, drawing or photography. The lovely Maria from AVE Handmade (that’s her beautiful drawing up there) is just one person who draws on the love of her children as the inspiration for her gorgeous drawings.
Step 1: Read Lina’s 7 Reasons to Keep a Mothers Journal (Dads, don’t be put off by the title – this is a great thing for you to do too.)
Step 2: JUST START!
Step 3: When you’re ready, share them with your child. Even if you child is not old enough to understand the words, they will tune into the love in your voice. What a lovely bedtime story!
Step 4: Print the letters out on good paper and keep them in a safe place, ready to pass onto your child when the time is right. Or if they are handwritten, take a photocopy. Read our Notes about Archiving to ensure that the letters will be around long into the future.
PS. If you would like to read my love letter to the munchkin, here it is.
PPS. For those of you sans kiddos, be assured not all our Journal Journeys posts will involve them. Promise!