All good things come to an end, right? I would guess so. My position in HR at the company I have been employed with for over 10 years has for the most part moved on to corporate headquarters. This finale was not in my control. Another era has reached its natural end and this one is my choice. When my son, now eighteen, was just weeks old, my neighbor told me about an article she had read about writing a journal for your kids, a sort of ongoing biography of their life. I thought this was a brilliant idea! Since I was a bit behind already, I decided to start from the beginning with the decision to have a child. ( I was 37 years old when we chose the parenthood path, and my spouse an elderly 47.) I backtracked and wrote about my pregnancy and the early arrival of the boy. Once we settled into a routine (easier said than done with a baby who barely slept for the first five months of his life), I began more regular entries. My goal was to write at least every two weeks. I wrote about milestones like first steps, first word and potty training. As he got older, I wrote about school, vacations, friendships, bullies, discipline issues and the untimely passing of my spouse, his dad. I wrote about my own illness and his diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes at age seven. I wrote about sports, cub scouts, family and our butting of heads. (Strong extrovert versus stubborn introvert resulted in some interesting spats.) I did not always live up to my goal of writing every two weeks, especially as he got older and life got busier, but once I did sit down to write, I tried my best to get caught up on events. The journal entries document what I call the “good, the bad and the ugly.” There was no editing to make things look pretty or less messy or even less tragic. I wrote about life as it occurred. In addition to the journals, I have also documented his life in film-both print and video. We possess nearly 15 photo albums containing hundreds of photos. Each photo has the date, place/event and names of subject(s) on the back. Several years ago, I had the videos converted to DVD’s as technology evolved.
With end of eras a sort of theme in my life these days (think death of a parent, empty nest, job change, etc.), it occurred to me that it is probably time to write the final entry in this rather lengthy biography. The boy, now a young man, is technically an adult and a freshman in college. He drives, has a part-time job and is a registered voter. His almost fully developed brain does have the capacity for memory, so the need to jot down events for posterity is really no longer valid. I wrote the final entry yesterday, eighteen years after I penned the first. I am not completely certain that my son will take the time to read all ten volumes of journals, or flip through a photo essay of his younger life, or spend an evening or two or three watching home movies, but that really doesn’t matter to me. All of this was a project of love. Love for my son, love of the written word, and love of photography. Every life has meaning and every person has a story which deserves to be documented for the ages. If my son does not take the time to revisit events in his life, perhaps a future spouse and children might. I hope they find it a good read.