My 16 year old daughter Olivia gave me a decorated mason jar with slips of paper in it and a notebook for my birthday in December. This is what she wrote in the notebook:
“Mom, you’ve probably had tons of journals and still do, but this is part of your jar of happiness only your journal of happiness. Here you write down things that make you happy. Sights, smells, tastes, feels, sounds. Thins that make you laugh, words, thoughts, phrases, songs, anything really. Even the smallest of things. The feel of freshly shaved legs on your jeans. A hairbrush through soft hair.
I love you Mom. I really do. I know I’m a pain sometimes and get on your nerves, but you love me too. You’re like a rose in a dying garden. Your beauty stands out. Please don’t ever forget that. EVER. I love you tons. Love, Olivia”
I’ve looked at it, I’ve opened it, I’ve pulled out a couple strips of paper from my jar. But I didn’t really USE it. Until Monday. Monday I had a rough day. Work, decisions weighing heavily and for a woman who keeps it together and doesn’t often cry, I had a good sob. Nothing life or death, nothing horrible. Just tough. So I pulled out my journal and jar.
I took out every slip of paper. There are two themes. One is things the kids said, one is things I say or they think about me. Here they are:
“I like when Mom puts my hair in french braids or high pony tails. And when we cook together.”-Kezia “I like when Mom gives me advice while playing with my hair or tickling my back. Those are the best moments that we share.”-Olivia “I like when we make jewelry together.”-Alana “I like it when Mom takes me on special dates.”-Ashlea “I like it when I get to go on bike rides with Mom.”-Nicolas “I like that she buys me gum and A-1.”-Taylor “I like when Mom takes me shopping.”-Brianna “I like when Mom snuggles with me.”-Gabrielle “I like when Mom spikes my hair.”-Samuel
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS WE DO EVERY DAY THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Things I say or they think about me: Beautiful, sexy, smart. What more do you need?? Over the hill… Go Clean your room! Sexy and I know it. Amazingly beautiful. SHOES! SHOES! SHOES! Groovy man! Smile. The world has need of beauty. DON’T PANIC!! Another day to live. Never let anyone tell you you can’t. Destined to do great things. It’s the maid’s day off. The world is pretty amazing. I’m still kicking. Sexy Mother Runner. I am a fighter. Living life to the fullest. Smile, the world will pause.
WHAT ATTITUDES DO WE EMULATE??
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bragging. I make my quota of mistakes. Olivia interviewed all her siblings to create this jar and journal for me. Had she interviewed them on NEGATIVE things I say or they remember, I’m sure she’d have a list equally as long. But she didn’t. She wanted to be positive. I try to have fun every single day. I want them to know they are my most proud accomplishment, they make me want to be better than I am, I am privileged and honored to be their Mom. Thankfully, despite my errors, some of that’s getting through.
I glued my strips to the pages of my journal. I’m asking the kids when they think of something new to add it to the jar for me to find. I’m writing things to add to the list. I’m looking at it often to remember who and what is most important. At some point, like with the 5 that went before, these remaining 8 children will take flight and find their way in this world. I want to know I’ve done my best.
FIND YOUR STRONG. THEN PASS IT ON.