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A-Musings, Expert Insight

Journaling for Grandchildren

by Joan "Grandy" Leader
 ∙ Sep 7 ∙ 4 Min Read

March 11, 1989

Dearest Chelsea…

Today is Grandy’s birthday…It is my 53rd birthday… A special day in many ways… It is especially awesome because this is my first birthday as a Grandy…My first birthday with you in my life (how lucky I am)… And it marks the beginning of this book…My journal to my first grandchild…

I’ve been thinking about this journal for a long time…At first, I was going to begin it when your mom was carrying you in her tummy… But I didn’t…Then I was going to begin on the day you were born… But I didn’t…Then I was going to begin with the New Year… And again, I didn’t…And then, I decided if it was going to be OUR book, it DEFINITELY should begin on one of our birthdays, and mine came first, so here goes…

August 25, 2018

For the past five years, I have been facilitating journaling workshops at Campowerment weekends and have spoken with many people to encourage them to keep a journal to their children or grandchildren… I have shared with these women about my experiences and have met with so much positive reinforcement that I thought I’d like to pass along some tips to help you get started NOW!

It doesn’t matter how old your child/children or grandchild/grandchildren are today, it is never too late to begin this joyful, meaningful project…When I began Chelsea’s journal, I promised myself that I was not going to feel pressure to write every day, or every other day, or week, or month… I was just going to write when I had something about an event or a cute story that I wanted to be part of her childhood… 

If something cute or funny (or even sad) had occurred and I didn’t have time to write about it then, I stuck a Post-It in the book with a few words to remind me of what I wanted to remember…And when time permitted, I “filled in the blanks” by way of the Post-Its… I also included notes and drawings and photos of events we shared…

Here are some REALLY easy steps to help you get started creating these legacies for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and/or other special children in your life now:

  1. Buy yourself a journal that appeals to you.
  2. Place it in a spot near your most comfortable chair, with good lighting.
  3. Plan the day you’re going to make a commitment to begin this great project, and allow yourself the luxury of this special time.
  4. Decide on the topic of the story you’d like to tell first.
  5. Turn on some soft music you enjoy.
  6. Sit down, get comfortable, take a few deep breaths.
  7. Set a timer for ten minutes and try to write for that time period. If it’s too long, don’t worry about it! It’s just a suggested time period that works for me.
  8. Breathe and begin writing! Hooray for YOU! You are on your way!

Recently I was at a Charity Event and I ran into Aline, a friend of Tammi’s, and she put her arms around me and said, “Joanie, I cannot thank you enough for the gift you gave me!” I had NO idea what she was talking about. She reminded me that at this event the previous year, she had told me that she was about to become a grandmother and I told her she should begin keeping a journal to her first grandchild, and I gave her a few directives. She said she started immediately and had written through her daughter’s pregnancy and had continued and was having the BEST time! She really couldn’t stop thanking me for “the gift!” I walked away feeling great for having shared with Aline!

The years have passed quickly and suddenly Chelsea was getting ready to graduate from the University of Florida. Go Gators! I sat down with the journal and I turned all of the Post-Its into paragraphs or essays or short stories, or perhaps just a few lines, to remember that “moment in history.”

I presented the book to Chels on Graduation Day… She was moving to Los Angeles to live with Tammi and to take her first “real” job at TOMS… She later reported that she’d read it on the plane, and she told me that she laughed and cried all the way across our country. She also said it was the greatest gift she’d ever received. 

Please take my phone number and my email address and let me know how I can help you get started! 

With hugs and love from Grandy (written on Tammi’s 59th birthday!) – 305.965.7561

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