As a Mom, one of my favorite things to do is share my childhood memories with the kids. I’m sure one day they’ll roll their eyes and say “Whatever, Mom” but for now, they seem to really like to identify with things I did at their age.
Recently I dug out my very first diary, and I had a lot of fun reading some of it to my 7 year old daughter. She looooves it. Her favorite entry is one where I wrote about being mad at my Mom because she said I couldn’t have a sleepover on a school night. I wrote in big block letters “I’m mad!” and she thinks that’s the best thing ever. I also shared with her entries that I wrote during the months surrounding my Dad being in the hospital. (He had a major stroke when I was in 6th grade and nearly lost his life.) But it wasn’t all anger, sadness and worry… Mostly I just wrote about carefree things like going to Six Flags and having crushes on boys.
I was 11 years old when I had this first diary, and although some of the content is a smidge beyond my 7 year old’s understanding, she loves it when I prove that I was once a kid like her.
She’s a pretty expressive kid, and very in touch with her feelings. She tells me when she’s sad, mad, frustrated or excited and happy. Just the other day, she was getting ready for a sleepover at my Mom’s house, and she suddenly stopped and said “Oh my gosh Mommy, I just feel so excited in my tummy about the sleepover!! My heart is beating fast and I’m so happy!” And later when I hugged her goodbye, her eyes instantly welled up with tears and she said “Mommy, I just feel really sad to say goodbye to you!” And earlier today it was anger… “Mommy, I feel mad! My sister won’t share the markers with me!” She LOVES to tell me exactly what she’s feeling.
The diary concept is right up her alley.
Although she’s a little young, this week I presented her with her very first diary! It was important to me that I get one that actually says “My Diary” on it, and has a lock. (She doesn’t care about privacy at this age, but since my diary had a lock…I knew she wanted one just like that.) I explained that she can’t just go nuts, writing on every page and drawing pictures all in one day. She’s supposed to only write in it when she has something she wants to share, like what we did that day that was fun, something she’s looking forward to, or if she’s sad or mad or frustrated.
She was so excited the first few days and really seemed to get it. Naturally, she has now moved on to playing with her new My Little Pony… But when we do something fun, like going to a birthday party or for a sleepover at Grammy’s, I give her a gentle reminder about her diary. “That would be a fun thing to write about in your diary!” And likewise if she’s mad at her sister or disappointed that we didn’t go swimming today, I’ll suggest that she write about it.
Did you keep a diary as a kid? As an adult, are you someone who journals? I’ve never been a disciplined journaler… The last time I gave it a shot was in my early twenties, and it was really sporadic. I tend to be a private person, so the idea of putting it all out there on paper for someone to find one day kind of freaks me out! But, I’m glad I kept one childhood and one teenage diary so that I can share some of those experiences with my kids.
Right now, however, there’s NO way I’m reading my teenage diary to my daughter! It was really just 9th grade, I think, but it’s full of teenage mellow drama and poor self-esteem issues and pity parties about not having a boyfriend. We’re not ready to discuss that, yet!
We’ll see if she enjoys being a journaler. If not, that’s just fine. I’ll take good conversation together over private diary entries any day!