After I got home from the hospital almost five years ago now, the adoption agency gave me a box of things to help me. Book of inspirational quotes, some mints, some soap, and little things like that. One of the things was a blank journal. It's not that fancy. Just a yellow journal with a purple butterfly on it. I stared at it a while and wondered what to do with it. I have many notebooks and have always carried a whole collection of them. But this one I stared at for a while before deciding what to write in it.
I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it when I was going through a box of books. I found Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in my mass of paperbacks that I had thrown into boxes upon leaving Columbus. I flipped through the pages and found the first page of the first chapter of the grandfather's narrative.
"WHY I'M NOT WHERE YOU ARE"
I think I stared at those words for about ten minutes. I knew what I wanted to write in that blank journal now.
I opened it to the first page and wrote: "Why I'm Not Where You Are" at the top with the date of the first entry. The first thing I wrote was the story of how I discovered I was pregnant, moved back in with my parents, found his parents, and gave birth to him. Since then, I've written a few entries. Some have been a couple years apart from each other. But I always write them as if I'm talking to Joseph at some point in the future.
I imagine I'll fill this notebook up with more entries over the years. Probably put in more details and talk about my life and his life and what I get to see as he grows up. Tell him things that I want him to know about me and his birthfather and his birth family. My plan is to give him this notebook on his eighteenth birthday. Probably won't put it in his stack of presents at any party. But I'll give it to him wrapped up and tell him to open it when he has a quiet moment to himself.
I hope it helps him to understand what it was like for me. And I hope he knows that I always loved him.
Anyone else have a stack of letters or a notebook of things you want your kid to read one day? I'm sure I'm not the only one. And if you feel comfortable, talk about it in the comments.