I used to keep a daily journal for about 18 years of my life. It was adorable in my elementary school years, cathartic in my teenage years, and kept track of momentous occasions in my college and young adult years. My entries were lengthy, filled with emotion, and someday I hope my kids read my old journals (someday in the VERY distant future).
Today my journal consists of just one memory per day. Because, well, LIFE.
When I had kids, I stopped having time to journal. Every time I started a journal entry, I was interrupted 12 times. Then I got too far behind, and every time I tried, I felt like I was summarizing life. I was trying to catch up with an old friend each time I wrote, rather than enjoying it. Like I have done with too many old friends, I lost touch with my journal. Hopefully someday I will journal regularly once again, but for now I just can’t keep up. But I still passionately want to remember things, keep track of my kids’ milestones, and record the hilarious things they say.
Now, the only journal I keep is a small, 5-year daily calendar with about 4 tiny lines for each day. You only have space for one single memory per day. I bought this calendar when my twins were born four years ago, and I have not kept up very well until this year. I plopped the book on the counter (pictured here in it’s natural habitat) so I could see it every day, and started writing down one memory per day. On days I travel for work, my husband writes something. He’s enjoying it just as much as I am!
Because my kids are toddlers, our most recent entries have been a lot of hilarious things they say. Other times we record milestones. Very often it is only a couple words. Some examples include:
May 15, 2016: Eden insisted on wearing a coonskin hat to the grocery store.
June 2, 2016: Jude started crawling!
January 27, 2017: “This little piggy hurts, and this piggy hurts, and just the WHOLE pig!” – Eden, age 3, describing her sore foot.
March 11, 2017: “The toilet paper is too far away from the toilet. I don’t know why Jesus made it that way.” – Ellie, age 3
March 14, 2017: Jude’s favorite song is now “Walk Like a Man” by The Four Seasons
March 19, 2017: Loudly, in church, “Was that song from Beauty and the Beast?!” – Eden, age 3
March 29, 2017: “I’m itchy all over.” – Eden, “Maybe you had some bad cheese.” – Ellie, age 3
July 18, 2017: “I think her name is… um… Spooger.” – Eden, because she forgot the person’s real name.
I shared this idea with some friends and they started pulling up similar lists – some funny quotes they keep on their phones, short lists of milestones they wrote on post-it notes, and more. Some of my favorites include:
“My poop was feeling so tired and it needed to take a rest in my underpants.” – Henry, age 3
“Now THIS is where food comes from.” – Adair, age 4, walking into Starbucks, after picking peas from a field all morning.
Life is busy. Too busy for full journal entries unfortunately. You may remember your family vacation for a long time. You may remember first steps, or their first day of school, or a first date. But you may not remember when your four-year-old yelled something hilarious in a grocery store, the walk your family took in a new park, the rough experience of pea-picking with toddlers, or when your kid scored their first goal at soccer. The family vacations are awesome, but these little memories are what keep us going day after day. They make us laugh, and cry, and love the everyday.
I challenge you to write down just one memory per day! Buy yourself one of these books or a small notebook, put it somewhere very noticeable so you’ll remember, and begin to record tiny memories. Don’t sweat it if you miss a day or two… or a month. This is a low pressure, 10 words per day commitment that does not require a ton of effort. I guarantee you will be glad you did it. After a few months, look back and read a few, and you will be shocked how quickly you forgot those little things that we take for granted each day.
Try it out! Just one memory per day!