So I finally completed that project I had put off for all too long—cleaning files that had accumulated over the past two decades, only to land themselves in a closed box in the back of an unused closet. And that project I thought I didn’t want to do was one of the greatest joys I’ve had in a long time.
Those files contained time travel magic back to days I had long since forgotten. Days that held love and connection with the people most important in my life. Memories that were buried had sprung to life with vibrancy unmatched by anything I could ever recall.
I found certificates I had won through numerous poetry contests, short stories I had written, and floppy disks that held three novels I had written and forgotten about. (Yes, floppy discs. That was a while ago, wasn’t it?)
I found cards written to me by my boys when they were so small; professing their love for me and telling me I was “the best mom ever.” I should have kept those cards close by to remind them of those feelings during their teenage years when I had at times become “the meanest mom ever.”
I remembered the love of books and story my boys and I shared as I found stories they had told me. I wrote them down word for word so as not to change their story, but keep it completely theirs. Here is one of those stories by my then five-year-old, Ben:
“One of my Care Bear friends were stolen. It was by a robber. He was going outside and he took off and a stranger took him. He ran away from his mommy when they were going for a walk. Then one of the good grownups got stolen, and they got stolen by a mean guy and they killed him. My Care Bear friends are just for pretend though. They got by two houses. The two mean guys were neighbors.”
Yes, we watched a lot of Care Bears.
Another paper was written by that same boy at nine years of age. This one is self-explanatory.
“I should listen to mom and dad because if I don’t I might get in trouble or get grounded or even do fifty words like I am doing now. I rilly don’t like doing this but I deservit because I was mesing around at the church. I got in trouble by not listening.”
My other son, Alex, at four years of age dictated the following words to me as I wrote:
“Are you afraid of the dark? Do you know what? A monster came and the witch got in the way of the TV that the little baby was watching. The witch stealed the baby then the hunterman came and shot the witch and the monster.”
Uhhh…yeah…not even sure what to say about that one.
But with the next paper I came across, that little boy was angelic. It read:
“I’m sorry Ben for slapping you. Will you forgive me. Love Alex.”
The love in that tender heart is still present today. Not through words so much, but action. And actions often speak louder than words.
As my boys were growing up, I wrote in journals daily, one for each boy, until they reached the age of twelve. That’s when one of them let me know, “Mom, I think I can remember what I do now. I AM twelve, you know.” He may have been twelve, but he was still my baby. And the writing in those journals, I think, may have been more for me than for them. Born of the fear that I might someday forget the smallest detail of the best years of my life. Raising my children.
Words and story have held such a significant part of the lives my boys and I have shared. And now that they are adults, a new story yearns to be written. As my first grandchild was just born nine short weeks ago, the most beautiful little angel, I see my son in her, and await the story that unfolds as her life unfolds. New words. New stories. New memories to fill more files. And to fill hearts with love.
Grace to you.