Journal

By: Heather Desmond O’Neill

Every so often I write a letter to one of my boys – my charming first-born son, my enchanting second-born son or my endearing, loving husband. I keep a journal next to my bed and write them letters that I’m not sure they will ever read.

A dear friend of mine put together a book for her grandmother who had documented events during the lives of her nine children and continued to do so for all of her grand and great-grand children. She had boxes of journals she had compiled over the years, memorializing birthdays, deaths, marriages, anniversaries, divorces and simple every day occurrences. I’m not sure she ever intended for her children to read these, but I think she may have done this – in an age where social media wasn’t even a distant thought let alone the reality that we all know – to reflect on what she went through raising nine children alone after her husband passed away. My friend scanned the journals onto her computer and added in newspaper clippings, photos, cards, and other items she found that her grandmother had kept. The finished product was an encyclopedia of the journey that this wondrous woman took with her family. It was more precious than anyone could have imagined.

JournalIt gave me the idea to start journaling and keeping memories for my children. I’ve never been one for journal writing but have found a strong sense of purpose with this endeavor.

I started writing to Jameson when he was a baby, telling him things I may never have told him otherwise – such as how I met his father; what our wedding was like; how I felt when I found out I would be a mother; and the thoughts I had when I first held him in my arms and knew that this was what and where I was meant to be. I described how it was when he was an only child, the routines we developed, the lyrics to the songs I created for him, and the guilt I placed on myself for being a working mother. I shared with him special moments such as when I told him he was going to be a big brother, seeing him walk into my hospital room to meet his baby brother and quiet moments we’ve shared cuddling together and reading a book. I’ve tried to pinpoint small moments that he may not remember but are etched into my mind forever.

When Jackson came along, I began writing letters to both boys at the same time. However, at times, I write to them separately when I really want to tell them something I know they are too young to fully understand now, but someday they will.

My husband also gets a letter every so often. I want to share thoughts and feelings with him that I may not have in the present moment. I believe that we will not remember every moment, every wish, or every expectation. This way I can share with him how/what I’ve felt during specific times.

I write these letters every so often. There’s no commitment – just what I want, when I want.

My boys may never read these letters, but if they do, I want them to read them knowing the love I have for them and understanding some of my thoughts and emotions that went into being a wife and a mother.

Who knows, in 60 years maybe someone will want to memorialize our journey.


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