Bernie took the boys to his parents' house this evening and I was left with a couple glorious hours of "alone time." I began by weeding my garden, turning over the soil, and planting some tulip and daffodil bulbs. It was so beautiful outside - warm and sunny. I was actually in a t-shirt and shorts! I was just in my glory. It felt so good to be doing some manual labor and working with the earth. Plus, it is such an act of hope. I know that in the spring, after all the cold and snow, I will be so looking forward to those first green shoots pushing through the ground.
After about an hour and an half, I came inside and got changed. When I was in my room, my box full of my journals caught my eye. I have a horrible memory, and thankfully, I realized that when I was relatively young. I wanted to be able to remember what it was like to be a teenager. I began keeping a journal a few days after my 15th birthday. My parents had given me a "blank book" for Christmas. It is without a doubt the best present I ever received. Now I have about 15 of those journals. I tend to write once a week these days, mostly updates on what the boys are doing. I have always figured that I would give them to a granddaughter someday. I know - it's awfully presumptious of me to think that I will have a granddaughter considering that my parents have 7 grandsons! Still, I would have loved to have such an insight into my own grandmother's life (or even my parents' lives). We get such an edited version of our parents' and grandparents' lives. It would be wonderful to know what really happened and what life was like for them.
This evening I dug down deep into my box for that first blank book from long ago. It covers 2 1/2 years of my life from the end of December 1989 through July 1992, right before I started college. I sat down and read it cover to cover. There were so many events I had completely forgotten about. There were people I could barely remember. Tucked into the pages were love letters, including one very special one that had been taped inside my locker the spring of my sophomore year of high school. The writer has probably long since forgotten writing it, but it was beautiful and it is something I have treasured all these years. Written onto those pages was boy trouble and more boy trouble, and more teenage angst than one person should have in a lifetime! "Mentally stable" would not have been the term used to describe me in those days.
I read about my nephews, who were little boys then and are grown men now. I read about fights with my mother and my dread of going to college. I read about my plans of writing the great American novel and creating world-renown art - no one can say I didn't dream big! Reading it though, I started to wonder if I would actually want anyone reading those pages. I'm old enough now to be embarassed by my youth. In fact, the thought crossed my mind that I should actually throw those old journals away. I can't do it, though. Too much of my heart and soul and yes, even teenage angst, was poured into them. I also realize that life is a journey and those days were part of mine. Hopefully, my yet-to-be born granddaughter will realize that as well.
I enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I can't help but wonder, though, if my fifty year old self will look back at the words I write now and be equally embarassed. If only we could get the wisdom of age without actually having to age! Unfortunately, life isn't like that and we can only write from where we are today.