Time. It's something I never seem to have enough of and it goes by way too fast! Despite the fact that I want to spend unending amounts of time loving on my children, it seems we are always busy with school, church, sports, scouts, friends, the list goes on and on. Granted, we do many of those things together but the opportunity to tell them just how much I love them, how proud I am, the qualities I see in them - time for that seems ever limited.
A few years ago, I borrowed an idea from a good friend of mine and started a "Love Journal". It’s a simple notebook where I communicate with each of my children; we write notes back and forth.
Notes like: "I was so proud of you for helping your younger brother when he got hurt on the playground today. The love you showed him made my heart smile. You are such a wonderful big sister!"
Notes that say when I see growth or change: "I know you have been working hard on telling true words, even when you may not like the consequences, but I am so proud of you for doing it anyway!"
My children write me notes back. Telling me they love me, thanking me for telling them what I see, acknowledging that they have been working hard or how much they do love their sibling.
Sometimes our notes are short, other times they are long. Sometimes they bring tears and other times smiles. But they are always filled with love!
Now here comes the FUN part! After we write the note, we hide the journal and wait for the other person to find it. I hide it under their pillows, in sock drawers, and with toys. My kids hide it under my covers, in my work bag, in the pantry. Sometimes it takes days to find it, other times minutes. My younger children are so excited to have me find it that sometimes they tell me when it's hidden and give me hints (aka show me) where to find it.
We don't write every day. It's a place to note those special moments and memorable lessons. To say things like "I really enjoyed going to the Girl Scout event with you today. I had so much fun and really enjoyed joking around and learning new things with you!" or "It was so exciting seeing you score your first goal on the soccer field! I was jumping up and down and cheering for you!"
My hope is, someday, when I'm not around anymore - maybe they are away at college, maybe we live in different states, maybe I have passed on - that they have these journals to look back on. That they have a lifetime of memories and special notes as a way to know how much I love them.
We have enjoyed this so much that my children each have a "Love Journal" with my parents as well. It's another way to remind them they are loved, and I expect it will be something they treasure after my parents are gone.
So while time is fleeting and my children are growing up way too fast, it is a way I can capture small moments. It's something I can do in the quiet after bedtime or in the hustle and bustle of playtime. It's also a neat way for me to see them grow - to look back and see their handwriting change, their notes lengthen, their ideas develop. I can see my children changing in their journals.
You can create a "Love Journal" of your own in just a few easy steps!
1. Get a notebook for each child, I prefer something the pages don't easily rip out of (a composition book works great) (If you have more than one child you may want to get a different color for each)
2. Explain to your child(ren) what you're doing
3. Write your first note in each journal and hide the journals
4. Wait for them to find theirs and write back
5. Continue to write back and forth and hide it for one another
6. When the journal is full keep it somewhere safe where it can still be read, and start a new one!