I have misplaced the journal I keep for my son. I've kept a journal for both him and my daughter since they were born - recording milestones and funny stories and their little quirks. I'm not the best journal-keeper - but I have made an effort to write in these journals on their birthdays and whenever they do something that I don't want to forget.
On New Year's Day, I opened the drawer of my bed stand. There was my journal, and Annie's, but Henry's was absent. I gave my room a cursory rummage to no avail. My husband consoled me, saying it's bound to show up somewhere. Still, days later, I have not found it. It's absence is nagging at me. Multiple times a day I open my bed stand drawers, hopeful that by some miracle the journal will be there, found. I've entertained the idea of searching for it in the strangest places - like the big blue garbage cans in the garage - uncertain if these impressions are the product of inspiration or complete lunacy.
Last night, before going to bed, I opened the drawer to my bed stand again. And then, I started to cry. My husband was more than a little mystified by this behavior. "It will turn up," he said. I cried harder. He made a show of looking for the journal, getting down on his knees and peeking under the bed. "I need to get over this," I said. And I do. It's just that, I've been keeping that journal to remember the things about my son that I'm certain I'll forget. I've been keeping that journal as a kind of portable memory. I've been keeping that journal as a safety-net. I know it's morbid, but I've always thought that if I died young, my son would have a record that I loved him. Proof, in my own hand, that I cared enough to chronicle his life.
I've been thinking about my compulsion to write these past few days. It is an affliction that is not unique to myself. I've been thinking about the way people scrawl their names on bathroom stalls, into tree trunks, on cinder block walls. As if all of humanity is wanting desperately to proclaim "I was here." We feel the need to leave our mark on the world, to leave something that will endure, something that will survive us. Writing is nothing if not an attempt at immortality.
Okay, maybe I'm being too dramatic. But still, I can't help feeling that I've lost more than just a little-lined notebook.