Monday, June 30, 2008

A future treasure?

I know a lot of mommy bloggers began their blogs as a way to document not only their children's childhood, but also who THEY were as a parent to their child, and as a person outside their role as "mommy". They began with the goal of sharing who they were and how they thought with their children when they were older: what it was like to live each day together, the major events as they happened, etc. That was never my goal.

But the other day as I was scrapbooking I was journaling on the page, which is something I'm trying to do more of (and blogging helps with that quite a bit, actually), and I thought "I'll put a little bit of the story here. I have the full tale on my blog."

The scrapbook is different, very different, than the blog. The major goal of my scrapbooking is basically an enhanced photo album. The May Queen loves to look through them now, and so I try to get pictures in fairly quickly (ahem. I run about 6 months behind. Give or take 4 months). I'm trying to journal more so that other friends and family who look at them will know the stories behind the photos, and also because as I was looking at old albums at my parent's house last summer I wished so much that there were stories attached to the pictures. What on earth were Grandpa and I doing under the table in this photo? I hope that some day in the future we'll be able to look back at the scrapbooks and remember not only the event in the picture, but the events that surrounded it.

The journaling in the scrapbook, though, is for immediate consumption by family and friends and even sometimes acquaintances who happen into our home and to flip through my books. The blog... while much more immediate and in a lot of ways much more public, is deeper and more private. I choose who, in my circle of friends and family, has access to it. The things I write and tell about are different. More personal, in a lot ways. But I'm beginning to think about it in terms of something that I might indeed gift to the May Queen as she gets older. Maybe not all of it. Maybe just select posts that are printed into a book or binder for her: This is me. This is your mother. This is how I saw the world. How I loved you.

It's not quite a private journal. I write much differently when I write in a private journal. I think, however, that this blog may be better than a private journal. A lot of the stuff I've written in private journals in the past I think may be destined for flames. I'm not sure I want my daughter or any future generations reading that dreck. But writing a blog for an "audience" has challenged me to explain myself better and to think about who I am in ways that a private journal did not. I hope that The May Queen might, someday in the distant future, lay her eyes on this and think "what a treasure, to know what my mother was thinking and feeling as I grew up. To know WHO she was, as my mother, and as a woman outside of just my mother." I know I would love to have something like this from my mother.

Do any of you have anything... journals, letters, etc... from your mothers or other ancestors? How have they shaped how you view them?

20 comments:

Amy Dalton said...

wow. first time i get to be the first commentor on your blog!

Anyway, no, don't have anything written by an ancestors but sure wish I did. However, I was able to go through a box of old photos with my grandma and she verbally told me who, what, when and I wrote on the backs of all of the. She was 90 at the time. She died at 92. So I treasure having those!

flutter said...

This is so beautiful, you made me all teary

Pgoodness said...

I scrapbook, too! You're much more caught up than I am, even with the 4 months given or take!! I journal differently in my scrapbook than on my blog - it's just a different audience, but both important in their own ways.

niobe said...

I think that whatever pieces of your blog you choose to share with MQ will be a gift she will always hold close to her heart.

Mary Beth said...

After my grandparents died we found tons of pictures and no one knows who the people are because we didn't think to write it down. I had a copy of a journal my great-aunt kept for a few months - it was really interesting because my mother played an integral part in it. Unfortunately, I didn't get to know my great aunt as well as I would have liked, but it definitely made me see my mother as more human and less parent. I think it's a wonderful idea to keep some of the posts for the MQ when she gets older because you can say things in print that you just don't have time or know how to put into words when you're face to face.

nomotherearth said...

This is exactly why I'm doing it. My mom can remember general things, but not the day to day life. I thought it would be cool for the kids to be able to see that.

Here's a question for you: Do you think it's a gender thing? Are girls more likely to want to read this kind of stuff than boys?

Kathryn said...

I WISH I had my mother's journals or scrapbooks. She never did any of that. She doesn't even have photo albums. Just piles of pictures thrown in a box.
That is one of the reasons I love my blog. How awesome will it be for my boys to look back on? I think once a year I will have the blog made into a book. For safe keeping and easy reading.
But you are right. My journal is much different than my blog. My blog has actually made me aware of how boring my journal writing is. I've started to write with much more emotional and descriptives in my journal instead of just bulletpoints and complaining. ;)

Julie Pippert said...

Letters, daily journals...some things. It's an interesting glimpse into a small bit of their life, but not knowing them, I don't think it's as meaningful to me. From my great-grandmother's letters, she sounds nice but a little...umm flaky? Was that really her? She died young, no telling.

Like you that's why I like blogging. And I do think of my girls seeing it, at my age. I wonder if it will put perspective on this time in their childhood, and be any kind of validation or help for them in their adulthood and own lives.

thailandchani said...

I don't have anything written by ancestors. The fact is I come from a long line of people who never wrote much. Still, I have found inspiration in the writing of others, just the same. Even other people's blogs.. such as this one. It gives me a glimpse into how others think, how they process things, how they believe. It's fascinating really.

My personal journals are far more raw than I would ever consider my blog to be ~ even though the blog gets pretty close. There are some things that are simply never meant to be read by anyone but me.

Kyla said...

I've been thinking a lot about the private publicity of blogging lately and I think you captured that well here.

I, like you, didn't start blogging for my children...but I do know that someday, there will be posts I want to share with both my kids. I want to show KayTar how her existence and our challenges shaped who I've become in the best possible way.

carrie said...

I know what you mean about the scrapbook journaling - and don't feel bad about being 6mos behind, I am 3 YEARS in the hole! Although I do current pages to keep myself motivated.

I have my grandmother's journals - which were more about the weather than her inner most thoughts and feelings. But I am so happy to have them.

I think anything we leave behind will be a gift for future generations - especially these blogs. Obviously I don't do any personal venting (like I did in my journals when I was a lot younger, and yes, those should be for my eyes only) and I agree that having an audience helps me focus on what is really important rather than rambling on and on about my "feelings." Nobody would want to read that anyway! LOL!

Good topic, sorry for the ramble . . .

Aunt Becky said...

When my grandmother died, she left us a book which was sort of a journal of my family. Like, it explained about when we came over from Sweden.

It was fascinating.

JCK said...

I have journals of my grandmother's when she was very young - still school age. And her stories that she wrote. None published, sadly.

I like the idea of your photo/scrap book and adding the stories. WHAT you are 6 months behind??? SO, SO shocking. I, myself, have never started....

Beck said...

My dad is a writer, so I have poems and various pieces he wrote throughout my childhood about me. Generally, I sound like a dork in them.
My mom kept a diary while she was pregnant with me! She was 21 and reading The Hobbit and that is all I remember.

the dragonfly said...

When I was in my early 20s my mom let me read the letters she and my dad wrote back and forth to each other when Dad was in Air Force basic training. It was literally just after they were married (a few weeks or less) and it really made me see my parents as people and not just parents (if that makes sense). I don't know if my mom even knows this, but it was one of the best presents she ever gave me.

womaninawindow said...

It's funny. My mother gifted me a book of letters my father gave to her when they were courting but I have nothing of my mother's inner workings. Likewise, my husband's father wrote poetry when he was young and I've nothing of my mother in law. Also, both men are gone and both women reside. I still wish I had something more of each woman, a glimpse of them when they think noone's looking.

Aliki2006 said...

I wish I had those kinds of treasures...I have stacks of diaries of my own, which I wrote thinking always that I couldn't wait to give them to my own children some day.

the end of motherhood said...

I wonder quite a bit about the public nature of blogging - and how it differentiates from more fundamentally more private expressions like journaling. I think when I journal I write for an audience of one - myself. When I blog, I imagine a more varied and unknown audience. Event when the subject matter is the same, the differently imagined audience makes for very different work.

Barrie said...

Aerogramme letters from Ireland to Canada after my parents emigrated to Toronto. :)

imbeingheldhostage said...

Wow, this is such a great post. My scrapbooks tell a little of the story about why I chose to capture the moment forever, but yeah, I really write out here. And I watch what I write, unlike my journal, which like you said, should probably go down in flames. It has my frustrations with family members that would just cause hurt after I'm gone. I have nothing from my ancestors except a small box of receipts, address books and wine recipes from my paternal Grandfather I never met. I treasure it because it's in his writing and even something as straightforward as an address book gives me a glimpse into the meticulous man he was.