This is the not the post I was planning on sharing today.
Since I threw my back out packing the other day, I thought a re-post of a guest post would be good timing. When deciding which one to share, this one stuck out to me.
I first shared this post for It’s Always Autumn’s Sharing the Love series back in January. It was a great series about sharing projects that help us connect with those around us. I thought it perfectly appropriate to share it again with you now, in the wake of the Boston bombing.
I despise what happened…so much. I even withdrew a little social media wise, because I just didn’t know how to say… or what to say…ugh, nothing felt right. Now that a few days have settled over the matter, I want to take one good thing away from it, and that a catastrophic event like this acts like a filter for life. It spooks out the unnecessary, trivial fetters of life and lets the best things rise to the top. One of those best things of course, being my children.
With life and the move happening, we have let this journal writing experiment fall by the wayside. I’m excited to settle into our new (yet still relatively temporary) place, so I can reconnect and rekindle this project with my boys.
I think Autumn’s series is so brilliant and needed at this time of year, don’t you?
I had been wanting to implement my project for today for a while, but I needed this inspiring series to get me to move on it!
It’s a simple idea. I call it:
It’s basically a journal with an epistolary twist.
I am a terrible journal writer. Terrible. I have way too many journals with only a few pages filled, but I can keep up an instagram feed alright and a blog. Which helped me realize something…I do much better if I am writing to someone who will give me feedback.
So, why not write to my children and have them write back? Bingo!
Not only will this help ensure that I will record important memories, but it will help my second grader practice his writing skills and get in the habit of writing in a journal as well.
First, I bought some blank journals (I’m including one for my four year old so he doesn’t feel left out).They’re actually from the Dollar Store from a few years ago and I have been hoarding them.
We decorated each journal with outlines of our hands. My oldest son, Owen, and I made our hand outlines overlapping like a Venn diagram and then we went crazy, coloring in every space and gap.
My middle son, Reid, and I traced our hands on top of each other. He adorably pointed out that it looks like we are giving each other a high five. Perfect. 🙂
I taped a picture of me holding each child as a baby inside the front cover with some Washi tape. Then I wrote my first letter to each of them.
The boys were super excited to get a letter from me, BUT they were not super excited to write back. Correction. My four year old was happy to draw a picture for me in response, but my second grader was not really sure what to write back and was bummed at the prospect of having to write a lot of…something.
So, I readjusted and let him know that he can write as much or as little as he wants and I won’t correct his punctuation. 🙂
To help him along and engage him more in the process, I’ve also started asking him a question at the end of my letters. Just something simple like: What is your favorite kind of dinner? Then draw a plate on the next page and asked him to fill it up. Or: “What is your favorite subject at school and why?” In my next letter I can tell him about my favorite subject in school when I was his age.
It seems to be working a bit better for him so far and really great for me. I’ve already written down a few memories that I haven’t recorded anywhere else and I feel like I am connecting more with my kids. Plus, I am motivated to write because I’m excited for the boys to read it. I’ll call that a success with hope that over time Owen will enjoy the process more and more as well.
Once I write my letters, I lovingly lay the journals on their pillows.
And, my heart does a pitter patter when I see a journal back on my bed with a little message or picture inside.
It’s like getting mail, but way better.
Thank you for having me over Autumn and for hosting a series that brings us closer to those we love.