Little by little, every year, I am creating the gift of a lifetime for my daughters. The idea was passed on to my by another busy, working, but also thoughtful and creative mom. She also happened to have lost her own mom, I believe at a fairly young age. So I think this idea of creating a legacy of dialogue for her children was especially important to her.
The idea is simple:
- Get a journal or notebook.
- Write messages in it for your child. Once a year, twice a year – it doesn’t have to be extravagant, just relatively consistent.
- Fill those pages and save it as a gift for your child to present at a special moment – perhaps their graduation from college, wedding day, or birth of their first child. That’s the one I’m aiming for. When I can pass the baton of loving your child through their life to your child who is just starting the journey of loving their own child.
For someone who loves to write and journal already, this is a natural thing for me to do. If this does not come naturally to you, consider this starters as things you might include:
- Key events that happened in their lives that year – and how they and you felt about them. A bullet list doesn’t make for a good story.
- Their social life, names of best friends, struggles, joys and milestones of friendship.
- Their favorite things to do, and things they hate to do. (Chores anyone?)
- Describe their personality – what are the things about them that stand out among other kids.
- What do you love most about them, what drives you crazy.
- Advice and adult perspective on things that happened in YOUR life this year. After all, they will receive this gift when they are an adult, so you can speak to them almost as a peer. Your words will resonate with them at different points in their life – they will know that you too went through similar experiences and feelings.
- Your hopes and dreams for them, and even doubts and fears.
I often wish I spent more time journaling as a kid, but it’s not often at the top of the priority list when there are puddles to play in and homework to do. Those days fly by. And while my perspective will not be the same as my daughters’ it’s something. It’s meaningful. And it’s love.
And I can hardly wait for the day when the book is full and I have a new grandchild, to wrap it up along with a blank book and these instructions – so my daughters can pass on the same legacy to their children.