I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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mother/daughter journaling

365.005 - When I'm the Only One Up
We finally dug through that huge bag of end-of-school papers, trying to separate important memories from scrap. 

Quick detour:  No, we don’t keep every paper my kids bring home!  I ask my kids to make three piles:  1)  really important stuff that must be kept  2)  nice stuff to examine but pitch afterwards 3)  junk that can be recycled right away.   They practice good judgment skills through this process and become surprisingly skilled at sorting.  We work through the piles, ask a few questions and recycle without guilt.  If the ‘really important’ pile is too big, that’s fine, but I might check again in a week or so. 

Anyway, I came across a spiral writing notebook in which my daughter had exchanged letters with her teacher.  They had developed a lovely correspondence and learned a lot about one another.  I was almost jealous of the mature give-and-take relationship they had, more like a friendship.  What a concept! 

It occurred to me that much of our daily dialogue revolves around giving orders direction, tons of negotiating (which exhausts me), the daily snuggle and much-too-rare intimate conversation.  There isn’t as much “what do you think of this?” dialogue as I would like to admit. 

So I decided to write my daughter a letter.   I proposed that we extend the journal through the summer.

She loves it.  In the journal she has my full attention and gets to talk about issues important to her (such as whether eels are slimy or not — who knew?).   We get to ask each other questions and take time to respond thoughtfully.  There’s no putting off incessant banter until later.  It’s an equal give and take, in our own quiet time. 

And the added bonus:  writing (or drawing) practice — in the summer!  It works for me. 

Doing this, I remembered my own mother going on a teacher exchange to England for three whole weeks when I was in junior high.  I’d never been away from her that long, and decided to journal all of the important things I didn’t want to forget to discuss with her.  Writing to a real person helped me keep it going, and I still treasure how it built the friendship between us.  Maybe this little exercise will help maintain the mother/daughter bonds for those fragile adolescent times to come.

Check out We are THAT family for more great ideas.

Creative Commons License photo credit: eeekays photography

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