Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Love's Labor Lost


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.


  1. This would have me crying too. I agree with your hubby, it will turn up. I think the fact that you record your thoughts about your kids so amazing.

    Hey, thanks for stopping by and signing up for the blogfest. I think it will be fun :)

  2. Aww, I would be upset, too. I saw a cool Google commercial the other day where the dad uses an e-mail address to keep a journal for his daughter. He sends e-mails, pictures, videos, etc. so his daughter can look at them someday. In the day of digital, that may be the way to go.
    Still, I hope you find the journal. It will turn up eventually, I know it will. You're such a good mommy for keeping a journal in the first place. You'll be blessed because of it!

  3. I so hear you! I have a bunch of journals and digital scrapbooks I've done that I would be devastated to lose. Hoping you find it!

  4. 'Writing is nothing if not an attempt at immortality.'

    Words, throat.

    Kim, I know the journal will turn up. I once put my algebra book in the freezer as an adolescent. It is in a place where it usually is not so it seems lost but it is not. It is misplaced. Your subconscious mind may have even put it somewhere. Sounds weird, but maybe. I think it's possible 'you' misplaced it to agitate certain thoughts that needed to push to the fore. Maybe not. But take a look around (inside.)

    I know I sound like Wayne Dyer or something but take a breather. Sit. And listen.

    And please don't stop posting on Wednesdays. Your words are moving me.

  5. Oh, thanks guys :)
    And Emily, I know, I think digital may be the way to go. Although there is something about putting pen to paper...

  6. Suze - the freezer? Really? Maybe I should check mine out...
    Thanks for the encouragement...

  7. This post reminds me of a line in one of my favorite books of all time. It's also, incidently, a book that I wrote. It goes like this: I want to leave my mark on something before I die, and not just the neighbors lawn. :)

    Sorry about your son's journal. I hate to be the stereotypical male following in your husband's footsteps, but it's bound to show up somewhere. Great post, Kim. Hope you had a nice holiday.

  8. Hey - I'm so sorry about the missing journal. I keep a journal for my girls as well, and I love to go back and read it, especially on days when the kiddos are less than charming. Reading past entries reminds of the cute things they do, and how in love with them I am.

    I have had that same thought - that if something happened to me, Noel and Juliet would know that I loved them. Is that weird that we both have those thoughts? What does that say about us?

  9. I wonder if every mother thinks about that - what if I die young, and they still NEED me? My mom was 41 when she died, with 3 teenagers and we all needed her in different ways. I find that I'm slow to teach my kids the things they need to know to live without me. Maybe that will force God's hand, or something. :)

  10. Curtis - Hey, that's one of my favorites, too :)
    Brooke - I always knew you were a kindred spirit
    Becca - There's a line from a book I read that says something to that effect - that a parent's job is to teach their children how to live without them. From what I know of you, I can tell your mother did a wonderful job...

  11. Now I'm feeling a little desperate at the thought of my poor future-orphaned kids who only have my dozens of To Do Lists and World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to take as my legacy. You're a step ahead of me, even with a lost hand-written journal.

  12. Did that sound insensitive? So sorry. I love the thought of saving something for them in my handwriting. I've delegated to the computer to save my thoughts, but certainly not my script.

  13. I'm sorry about your missing journal, and hope it turns up soon for you. Writing is about so much more than just writing, there's so much of life in it. So I can understand missing your journal like that ...

  14. Janel... I don't think it's possible for you to be insensitive.
    Joanne, thanks for the kind words...