I went to the bookstore today. I didn’t go for anything specific. I just like to walk through and look at the new books, hunt for treasures in the bargain bins, and wander through the journal section. I love the journal section. There is something about a beautifully bound book of crisp, clean pages waiting to be filled with words and pictures. I have several, but I never seem to finish filling them. I’m not really much of a journaler. I’ll start one but maybe only write one or two entries before I allow myself to be distracted by something else. I’ve done a much better job with this blog than any leather-bound purchase I’ve made at the local bookstore.
After my mother died, we went through her things and found multiple journals that were begun but never completed. I have one of them. It’s a cheap packet of paper with a vinyl covering — reminds me of those pocket calendars you can find at the dollar store. Mom was starting a new teaching calling in Primary, and she’d decided to keep a journal of her experiences. In the first entry, she wrote about how hopeful she was about her new calling, being nervous about being responsible for other people’s kids that weren’t necessarily the most likeable. She also wrote that she hadn’t been very good at journaling before, but she was very determined that this time would be different. It was the only entry in the book. It was just so Mom that I couldn’t resist keeping it. It spoke to me because I’m exactly the same way.
I don’t know if I’m simply not properly committed to the task, or if I’m reluctant to waste precious pages on things I deem unimportant. Of course, that latter is a silly excuse. Someday, my daughter will be going through my things that I’ve left behind and find multiple journals filled with mundane bits of my life — glimpses of me that she doesn’t see now, or perhaps will have forgotten years later.
Those things that are too embarrassing to write are possibly those things that she’ll most need to read. I would love to have a record of Mom’s struggle with depression. That’s something that I deal with, too, but we never really discussed it — even after I was diagnosed. When I was in college, I wrote a paper on the subject and interviewed Mom for a section of it. I could tell she didn’t really want to talk about it, but I found out so much from just a few, simple questions. I still want more. I want to know more about other things, too — things I never thought to ask her when she was alive — things I’ll never know. Every blank page is a missing memory.
I have this blog and a weekly email that I send to friends and family every Sunday evening, but those are things I don’t mind making public. The journals will be for myself and, one day, for my daughter. I need to fill those pages because I want her to know me, faults and all, when she’s learned all she can from what time I’ve been able to give her. Instead of buying a new journal today, I’m digging out an old one from the bookshelf. It’s time to pick up where I left off.