In “Write for Your Life” Anna Quindlen writes, “Wouldn’t all of us love to have a journal, a memoir, a letter, from those we have loved and lost? Shouldn’t all of us leave a bit of that behind?”
I’m certainly hoping my children will answer a resounding, ” Amen, yes, sister!” to that question; otherwise, what in the blazes will I do with the mountains of marbled composition books lying in wait?
Some days, I’m terrified that I will be left drooling in a hospital bed, conscious enough to know my kids are attempting to revive me by hitting me over the head with my journals in retribution for the words that they may feel that I’ve hit them with.
Let’s face it; there’s some putrid stuff in those pages. About myself, about my marriage(s), teaching, my kids both biological and classroom. Some days were just not pretty. I’ll own that. But, honestly, I don’t have the kind of time it would take to edit them. And what would I be saying by doing that? That I don’t trust them to understand that I was human? That if that know that I hated and doubted and envied and angered and pouted, they will be disappointed in me? That they won’t understand that those words on the page were my feelings at that particular time, on that particular day, in that particular year?
It takes a lot of manure to produce a garden. I hope my children can plow through what they find in my journals to understand that I always prayed to use it to produce a fertile life, abundant with hope and joy and laughter and gratitude. I didn’t always succeed. But I never took my hands off the plow.