For a very, very, very (ask my husband) long time, I have only written for my professors. Undergrad, grad school #1, grad school #2, reading certification grad school, and then grad school #3 to earn my doctorate. Yes, there were a few years off here and there, but not too many (I’m not that old!). It was a place to start as, like most students, I emerged from high school feeling less than encouraged as a writer. Creative writing was systematically drummed out of me as well.
But who I was always able to write for were my children. Since 2003, I have written down things they have said, journal entries to document each milestone. And I’ve written a letter to each of them on each of their birthdays. Sometimes, I have used a favorite book, such as “I Love You the Purplest,” as a mentor text. One time, after attending a Poetry Mentor Text workshop with Rose Cappelli and Lynne Dorfman, I wrote an “I Remember” poem to my oldest son. Ultimately, I wrote my dissertation, unreadable as it may be, to him as well.
So, as I embark upon this summer of writing, Slicing on Tuesdays, joining Teachers Write! today, I write for my children. I want them to know who I am/was/will be on a more intimate level. While time and work do not always allow me to share my thoughts and feelings with them, my writing will. It will help them remember themselves in times when they might have been too busy being a kid to notice something they did or said that captured the essence of who they were in that moment. I want them to read about my love for them, and how I “saw” each of them, even when I did not always get a chance to tell them.
I write to them because they inspire me. They surprise me. They keep me grounded. They remind me of what is most important in life. Writing, I have found, is a crucial and valuable element of life. I am glad that my children, unbeknownst to them, have encouraged me to take time out of the hectic pace that marks my current situation, to write – to remember – to reflect – and to live.