Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Diary,

I've kept a journal for almost two decades. I still have them all tucked away somewhere. There's the plastic, puffy one with a lock on the front that says "My Diary"- Inside its filled with my pathetic cursive penmanship and includes all constantly changing crushes I had in school, what my homework was, what happened on the bus, how annoyed I was with my little sisters. I distinctly remember writing using a flashlight for light up on my loft bed in the tiny room I shared with Katie and Kara.
Later I used a small spiral bound notebook for my junior high years. I used a different color ink for each page - all two hundred of them. I wrote about how my dad and I used to get away with watching TV on the weeknights (a big no-no at our house) when my mom went to church for a meeting. Is the show Hunter still shown in reruns anymore? Boys were still the main topic of most of my entries, especially a nine month "relationship" with Danny. Since we never talked, I had lots to say in my diary - including how he sent Jess S. to break up with me instead of doing it himself. I wrote about how on the walk to the high school for an assembly I had one boyfriend and on the way back I had a different one. Hey, at least I was efficient! Girlfriend spats were constant. I don't wish Junior High on anyone. I wrote about shopping for clothes for my first dance on November 3rd, 1989. I wore a soft, cream sweater with pink flowers and black pants, size 3. Oh how times have changed - I'd be happy to fit back into my size 6's!

Whenever I went on a trip I always packed a notebook to journal in. I spent ten years in 4-H so there was always some adventure during summer vacation. I was shy and being thrown together with kids you've never met before always made journaling good therapy. The summer after my freshman year of high school I spent two weeks on a horseback riding trip to Wyoming, the next summer I took a bus with 60 other 4-Hers to Washington DC, then there was the month I spent in Montana doing trail work for the Student Conservation Association the summer before college.

In college I spent 3 months traveling around Central and South America. Part of our assignment was to keep a journal that our teachers would read every few weeks to make sure we were soaking up at least some of the information that we were bombarded with on a daily basis.
Each year around this time I pull out that journal and read up on what I was doing the Fall of 1997.
Here's an excerpt from October 25th, the 59th day of the trip, staying in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the time:
[reaction to buying ballet tickets]...we're going to the ballet on opening night in a box of one of the top 3 opera houses in the world! And we're going to see Romeo and Julieta! I am so excited!!! BOX SEATS!
We did some final shopping, nylons, polarizing filter, Tara bought shoes to go w/ her dress...

[attending a local soccer game]
...We took a bus (98) across the river and then a nice lady told us where to get off. There were about 150 of us so It's hard to get on the bus fast enough. We got off and asked for directions. I guess we were trying to be pretty early cuz there can be fights outside before the game starts. I was worried that it would be expensive, but crazy as it sounds, for women our tickets were only $5. The guys had to pay $15. There weren't that many women there at all. While we were getting our tickets there were policemen walking by with shields and helmets with face masks. There were mounted police too. How crazy was this thing going to get? Inside the field was surrounded by fence, rolled barbwire at the top and a moat with rainwater in it probably keeps most people from getting to the field....

...The section for the visiting team's fans is blocked off so the two team's fans can't interact during the game - at least not physically. There were policemen that were down on the field with German shepherds. These people meant business...

...The red team scored and then less than 2 minutes later the blue team did. The craziest thing happened next. The blue team's fans all ran towards the left side fence, taunting the red team. It was comforting to know there was a fence and practically and army to protect us from them. We were told to become fans of the team we were sitting by so that's what we did....

[coming home from dinner]
...Our woman cab driver honked at everything on the way back to Hotel Castelar. We drove on Avenue Nueve de Julio at night. What a sight! I'd like to go out and take pictures of the city, but it isn't safe by myself.

Five months later I added more stamps in my passport when I studied in Vienna for the spring term of my junior year. (That journal wasn't read by our teachers and if you're familiar with the trimester vs. semester system, I was only on campus for 10 weeks of my junior year of college which was long enough to get my front tooth knocked out, but that's a whole other story.) I don't know where my Europe journal is at the moment so I can't share any of the entries, but it was a trip like no other since we lived in Vienna and then traveled to other countries on the weekends.

I journaled when I went to Voyageurs National Park for a college internship nine days after returning from Europe. I wrote about meeting Brian and how I thought his hat was ugly. Later that summer I wrote about what a good friend he'd become. The next summer I wrote about what a great husband he'd be for someone else, and how we were just friends. Then I wrote about our first kiss.
Sometime during college my journaling became more of a way to talk to God. I wrote out my prayers. Those are some of my most special entries.

Early on the morning of May 27th, 2001 I sat by the fireplace in my hotel and wrote to God about the man I was going to marry that afternoon. A few days later I sat on the dock overlooking Gunflint Lake and wrote about my dreams for my new life as Brian's wife.

These days I don't have any teachers reading my journals, but instead friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers read what I have to write. Talk about pressure! Of course it's pressure I put on myself because I really only mean to write for myself, so I can record my family's memories and feel connected to other moms out there.
Someday when I find the time and the money I plan to turn my blog entries into a blurb book. Knowing this, I think I put even more pressure on myself to come up with the perfect post title, interesting text that contains as few grammatical errors as possible, and is mostly coherent thoughts.

On days when I would really like to get the thoughts that are tumbling around my brain down on "paper" so I can move on to more productive activities (like finding my dining room table under piles of stuff or figuring out why I chose a Chicken Pot Pie recipe that takes 1 1/2 hours to make), I find myself shying away from blogging. If it doesn't fit in a pretty word package tied up with a witty bow, I don't bother. I don't blog about the quirks Julia has about nursing at night, or the days when I feel so guilty that a whole day went by and I kept putting off sitting down with the kids to play along side them just so I could get one more chore done.

I want them to see my heart and maybe even my soul when they read through the pages of the legacy book I leave for them. I know that making the memories, teaching them about their Savior, and raising them to be kind, compassionate, and responsible adults is more important than getting every cute quote or fun activity recorded, but if I'm going to ignore the housework to make a book about our lives, it might as well be real and include some of the less glamorous stuff.

Will I change the style of how I blog? Maybe. Will I post less or more often? Hard to say. Will I get more readers or lose the few I have? I'm going to do my best not to care. I really don't miss my sitemeter at all which I consider a step in the right direction. Speaking of moving in the right direction... I managed to get my thoughts untangled in my brain and down on "paper", spell check took care of the spelling mistakes (except that journaled and journaling apparently aren't words), and I will still hit Publish Post even though this post won't be the one that the kids read over and over again in the hard cover version.


Kelly October 26, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

I enjoyed this post very much! I have a feeling that a lot of us bloggers were former diary keepers! :)

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