Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth
Occasionally my kids will remind me of something I did or said in the past. Sometimes it’s painful to hear what they recall. Is that all they remember about me? What will they remember when they are grown and gone?
As a mom my “bloopers” file is huge. They’ll have plenty to talk about and laugh about when they become adults. They will know that I was not the perfect anything: mom, wife, homemaker, teacher, dieter.
I suppose what I really want them to know and remember the most is that they were and are loved deeply. And that my own imperfections and baggage sometimes caused me to behave in ways that I regret, saying or doing things I shouldn’t and not saying or doing the things I should. But that I never stopped trying to show them how much I truly loved them.
I suppose that I have arrived at this conclusion because of my own memories from childhood. My sister and I still laugh hysterically when we recall how our mother would be scolding us about something, waving the hairbrush in the air, with hair removal cream on her upper lip, and curlers in her hair. (The reason we laugh so hysterically now is because we’ve done the same thing!) Seems we are not alone in remembering the negative. I read a New York Times article recently that indicates:
interviews with children and adults up to 50 years old about childhood memories “found a preponderance of unpleasant memories, even among people who rated their childhoods as having been relatively pleasant and happy,”
My childhood was certainly “relatively pleasant and happy”. What often underscores this for me is the surprising discovery of notes written decades ago in books or birthday cards given to me by my mom and dad. It is the “breathings of [their] heart”. And it still warms mine.
These journals on my desk are the place I do that for my children. Each of them has a journal and at least one time a month, usually on the date of their birthday because it’s easy to remember, I write a personal note in their journal. (I’m not perfect at doing this either.) At other times if I run across a quote or a scripture I want them to know I will write that as well. It is a place to record the “breathings of [my] heart”.
My children have had a “relatively pleasant and happy” childhood. But I hope this book of words that I will give them one day will be a treasure to them.