When my first daughter was born, I decided to make a scrapbook. I went to Michaels, picked out sparkly paper, puffy stickers, and ridiculously expensive scrapbook decor with sayings like, “Precious,” “Darling,” and “Sent from Heaven.”
I had my pictures ready to go, ideas in my head, and events I wanted to write but I didn’t know if I should type the captions or handwrite them. I knew that my handwriting wasn’t the best and the pages would look more polished if I typed them. So I did, and it was good. My scrapbook came out cute. All the “Sent from Heaven’s” were in the right place. It was a scrapbook that I could put out on the coffee table, show friends and family and listen to all the oohs and aahs…
Because things like that seemed so important to me at the time. I was a new mom with a bouncing baby and I wanted to be perfect. Saying all the right things to friends who asked me how it was going, creating scrapbooks, and making my own baby food seemed…I don’t know the right word, not important, but elevating me I suppose. Just like loosing all the baby weight so fast seemed so necessary for this Mommy experience that I was about to embark on. I mean, all I had seen for the past nine months while thumbing through magazines in the OB/GYN waiting rooms were covers of magazines with celebrites who looked amazing and thin, jogging with their baby joggers, and touting the latest advice in organic foods. It appeared that being a mommy was on par with what college were you accepted to? Like this new stage in life where you had to be more than you ever were.
Well, fast forward to today and I seriously want to shake that girl. Raising my girls, running the house, keeping them busy, stimulated, and engaged while trying to keep TV to a minimum certainly has pushed out those mommy fantasies. More importantly, just loving them and making sure they get everything they need to be happy and feel valued is ALL THAT MATTERS.
Back track to the scrapbooking days (post year one) when I was about to start my second fabulous brag book. I again, remember being faced with the earth shattering dilemma of typing verses handwritng so I googled about this quandary.
I came across this post entitled “Exercises in Handwriting,” by Gwyn Calvetti,
I once met a woman who told me that her most prized possession was a grocery list on a scrap of paper she’d found between the pages of one of her mother’s cookbooks. Why? Her mother had been a perfectionist who was unhappy with her penmanship, typing everything. After her death, the discovery of this scrap of handwritten paper, in her mother’s sloppy scrawl, gave this woman a tangible link to her that she could keep always. It was the only thing she had with her mother’s handwriting on it.
This story made me think so much about the relationship between mother and daughter. This woman probably treasured this scrap of paper because it was something real from her mother. Not a perfectly kept baby book or perfectly organized photo albums- just something everyday. I believe that this is what we as daughters crave from our mothers- just messy, imperfect love.
So, I decided that I didn’t even want to make another scrapbook. All I wanted to do was write in a journal about our lives together. Document the silly stories, the awe inspiring moments, the outings we have with friends, the emergency hospital stories ( or low grade injuries), and just the basic day to day things that we do together.
So that is what I do. And sometimes I forget to write in it for weeks…and then I see my journals and the guilt consumes me for a moment. But then I fast forward to a day where I am reading the journal entries to my daughters and say- “Oops- that’s when we moved, or that’s when Mommy was baking 200 hundred cookies for your birthday party, or even just, you know what G, “Mommy was being a lazy bones that week.”