I've known that my son always saves every little note I write to him.
He hangs on to every heart shaped post-it that I stick on his laptop screen.
But I was not prepared for this.
I read through the journal and decided to introduce it to him and start using it this week. Honestly, I just hoped I could keep it together and not bawl through every page I wrote or read.
We've done four pages.
So far just ONE page lacked bawling. The other three, forgetttaboutit.
Katie Clemons, a brilliant author and mom herself, created this journal so Mom and Child can record memories together, swap stories, compare perspectives and explore common and unique interests. Letters back and forth and interactive lists invite you both to reflect, write, and doodle about topics timely to your life as your son builds self-confidence.
The intro has a Mom's Perspective note with great ideas on how to implement this.
I love that Katie writes, "...boys can also feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to share intimate things aloud --like "hey Mom, I have armpit hair now!"
I laughed and imagined that type of randomness out of my son making its way into our journal...which of course, I would be totally open to! Of course. [Putting in my request now for Katie to work on a Dad and Son Journal next, please and thank you!]
Here are some inside pages where you can see some of what you and your son will be writing/drawing:
Besides the writing itself, my son's other favorite part of this is that we get to pick a special spot (read: no little brother meddling) where we place the journal in order to pass it back and forth when we're done with our entries. We decided that when he finishes writing his page he places it in between the stack of books on my night stand. When I finish reading what he wrote and replying, I place it in between the stack of books next to his bed, too!
See it there, three books down from Luke Skywalker? Yellow pencil tucked into his page?
Guess what is the first thing he does when he wakes up in the mornings?
Twice now he came running to wake me up and I got the best, most heartfelt I-love-you with a hug. But the first time it was followed by some eye-opening, heartrending words. After hugging me, he said:
"I always knew you loved me, but it makes me feel loved when I read all of that and know that you took time to write it, not just say it."
Seriously, people. Am I just too busy or caught up in the days that I couldn't see this before???
Yes, since my last stress crisis, I had definitely slowed down from the frantic scheduling and accomplishment-driven mode in hyper academics, volunteering commitments, and everything else in between, BUT I had NOT taken that very same energy and determination to focus on the heart matters. I had NOT given it priority.
Have you been there?
If I would prioritize tending to his heart
as much as I prioritize tending to his
academics, his sports, his extracurricular, his faith, his volunteering, his social life...
The journal is not just back and forth individual writing, some of the pages you and your son get to do together!
We have made time to sit together, uninterrupted to work on the pages at the same time. I can't tell you how precious those minutes were!
I also imagine, as Katie very much intended, what it will be like to pick up this journal in 5 and even 10 years.
Don't even get me started. The waterworks.
I saw that one of the pages we haven't done yet has this prompt question from your son to you: "Tell me about a relative I didn't get to know well."
My own Mom. I get to write the best funniest, fun, loving, and treasured memories about her to my son who was so little when she went to Heaven.
I'm gonna need to do this one during deep sobbing, shuddering-shoulder, ugly-cry day when I'm home alone. Penciling it in now, right after my pedicure.
I purchased this journal myself and received no monetary compensation for it or for writing this post. My opinions here are truly because we love this and the additional emotional connection and bonding it has provided my son and me.
Now here is the page of our journal I am able to share with you because it was funny and I only teared up a little bit as I smiled writing it to him.
His page with the same question about me, however, did me in.
Yep. Not gonna lie.
But he did write that he "gets his sarcastic humor from me."
Which I thought was hillarious. No idea what he's talking about!
This is my page, writing to him:
I have included some additional pics of pages my son agreed to share here.
The one about Growing Up was SO key to our chat about his feelings on the future (what he feels nervous and worries about).
Of course, the puberty part is just a whole other post, eek.
I truly hope you get this and/or the Mother and Daughter Journal and start crafting these special stories with love, fun, and goofiness!
Katie also offers some exclusive resources such as inside cover, fun printable pockets and bookmarks, embellishment techniques and more, to enhance the mother-child "story-catching" as she calls it. You can access those via a special link printed inside your journal.
As for us, we will continue the journaling throughout the next school year.
I think it will be crucial to maintain this momentum my son and I have going, and it will remind me to tend to his heart FIRST when the high-stress demanding scheduling starts again.