March ushers in Spring which brings with it the tradition of spring cleaning. I tend to clean out closets when I tackle spring cleaning. Cleaning out closets means, for me, purging our house of things that need to be thrown away. It also means those things are, in fact, thrown away!
Packed away in one of my closets is a box of old journals. In each journal, I wrote stories about my children and the hilarious things they said when they were very young. When I read those stories, I am catapulted right back to the day about which I wrote, and I remember the day: Like the time when my children were playing restaurant. My daughter was seated at the children’s table with her tea set, my son was the waiter. He had a bright green marker, and a small composition book on which he scribbled the “menu.” My son went over to her and said, “Now today we have the orange juice special.”
It was so much fun having children with delightful imaginations who had fun pretending. By the way, clipped to the back of that journal was the little composition book in which my son scrawled the “menu” that day.
In other journals, in said box, I wrote insights about things I was going through many years ago. There were some painful memories as well. Like the time, harried single parent that I was, we rushed out the door trying to get to church on time. That particular Sunday the youth choir was singing. We were active members of Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta, where my children sang in the youth choir. My son hurriedly grabbed a pair of khaki pants to wear. Those pants were a little (not a lot) small for him and had a grease stain on the front. Although I was not embarrassed, I was afraid he might have been.
Those journals were filled with a lot of proud, happy memories, many of which involved my children’s achievements. My son is an Eagle Scout. There are journal entries in which I wrote about waiting in the hall while he went before his Board of Review in Alpharetta, pursuant to his Eagle.
A few months later, he was awarded his Eagle, and I wrote all about that. Our special guest, the day he was awarded his Eagle, was his beloved middle school football coach with whom we were very close. Three generations of Boy Scouts were there that day. My father, my brother and my son.
My daughter is a classically trained violinist. One year she auditioned for the Atlanta Youth Symphony. I wrote all about waiting in the hallway during the audition. She didn’t pass the audition but was glad to have the experience.
I mentioned that cleaning out closets means throwing things away. However, I wouldn’t consider ever getting rid of those journals. Those journals contain stories about the joys of parenting two incredible children. My son graduated with honors from North Atlanta High School where he played varsity football. He represented North Atlanta as the first paid intern at an Atlanta information technology company. My daughter graduated with honors from Roswell High School where she was active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Later on, within five years after she graduated from UGA, the UGA Alumni Association named her a “Top 40 Under 40.”
These days my children are happy, successful, well-adjusted young adults. My son works for Apple where he was recently promoted. My daughter is a project manager for a company who has a contract with Chick-fil-A. She is married to a fine young man who is a construction engineer. They have two children.
Not merely proud of them for their achievements in life, I am delighted that my children generously contribute their time and money to a lot of worthy causes.
As for the value of those journals, they are far more than a link to my past. Those old journals affirm where I’ve been, and who I am. That empowers me to know where I am going.
Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, and welcomes your email to her at email@example.com.