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Feb. 14th, 2011 | 11:23 pm

 Today I am going to make a heart-full plug for keeping a journal.

1. I don’t keep a journal.

But I wish I did. I wish I did for so many reasons. Like I want to remember what it is like to stay up all night with my little guy who has a fever and tells me he loves me but he is not better and he needs a popsicle. I want to remember how frustrating it is to not have a shirt in the house that fits over my belly. I want to remember how some days I want to crawl into my bed and never get out.

2. My mom didn’t keep a journal. Except she did. There is one. And then one more. The first one is when I was little I think. It’s short. Like half a notebook. I haven’t read it yet because I don’t know where it is. The second one is when she started to forget things and thought she should write stuff down. I haven’t seen this journal. My sister just told me about it.

I want to keep a journal because it would make me a better writer. I was walking through the parking lot at Macey’s on Saturday and I watched a guy stare at a girl. She was working there, picking up carts and he was staring. She didn’t notice. Or maybe she did because she kept flicking her hair and what if they knew each other? What if he was waiting for her to get off her shift and she was flirting? Or maybe they used to date and now they don’t and she has a new boyfriend but secretly she wishes she were still with Stanley, the boy in the parking lot, because he always looked at her like that. Or maybe he’s a stalker. The possibilities are endless. I wish I wrote about the people I saw everyday. The things I thought. The way I thought them. Did I think this way five years ago? Did I have the same daydreams? Am I different now because I drive a mini-van?

3. My mom was one of my best friends.

When I was a teenager, our church group always was always trying to get us to do service. Service, service, service. Most the time, I was fine with it, (except when we cleaned up that one park and I was picking up things and I was naive and didn’t realize what I was picking up until one of my leaders started yelling at me to put it down and then everyone turned and looked at me and I still didn’t get what I was holding and then when I found out I almost died) so usually I was fine with it. But going to visit old people. That always got to me. We’re going to go sing at a retirement home, they’d say and my stomach would turn. There was something about those places. The smell. The sadness. The wheelchairs. The extreme awkwardness I felt when I stood in their room and what was I supposed to do?

Tell them your name.

Hi. I’m Ann Dee.

Ask them about their childhood. They love to talk.

So I’d say, what was your childhood like? And some of them loved to talk. Loved it. Others didn’t. And I’d stand some more. When we would finally leave I’d be relieved. Glad not to have to go back soon.

There were some things I didn’t understand back then. Some things I still don’t understand. First of all, all of us matter. All of us have stories. Millions and millions of stories. And they all should be told. Maybe in novels, maybe in memoirs, but for sure in journals. Everyone, all of them, all of us, we are someone. I forget that sometimes. Like the lady who flipped me off the other day when I guess I cut in front of her? Did I? And then why would she do that? But she’s a person and she was probably having a bad day and I am not the best driver and what is her story? I forget that everyone is living out their own world. Their own tragedies, their own triumphs, their own everythings. We are all so much alike. and different. But alike. We should be writing it down. We should be talking more. We should be telling more. So that we never feel alone. So that we aren’t scared of people or assume things about people or discount people or like people (ha ha ha).

4. I asked the people at the place where my mom spends some of her days what I should buy her for Christmas. Actually I made my husband ask because I don’t do well on the phone–especially with caretakers for my own mom. Can you tell me what my mom likes to do these days? Because I have no idea.

They told him coloring books. For 3-5 year olds. She loves to color.

I wanted to scream. They don’t know my mom. They don’t know the mom who made me learn how to drive a stick shift on the steepest hill in the county even though I was begging to go somewhere flat and even though the clutch was burning out. They don’t know my mom who sat the piano with me for hours forcing me to practice the same run on the violin over and over again. They don’t know my mom who worked for years as a teacher and a librarian–stern but kind. The type of woman you never ever ever wanted to disappoint. They don’t know my mom laying in bed with us reading the Secret Garden. They don’t know my mom.

Or maybe I don’t know my mom. anymore. Sometimes I wonder what is real. I want everyone to read her story. I want everyone, the people everywhere, to know her. KNOW HER. And then, I want to know her. I want to know my mom now. I wish she could keep a journal. I wish I could find her. Find out where she is. Find out what she is thinking. Find out if she knows that I’m so sorry. I’m so so so so sorry.

I think we should write books.

But I think we should also write our lives.

I ramble. Sorry.

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Comments {7}

Katy

from: anonymous
date: Feb. 15th, 2011 07:12 am (UTC)
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Tonight I messed up my knew skiing and mom and dad came over to check on me. Even though she asked me 14 times what happened to my ankle and was it my right or left and did I sleep OK the night before ... I really loved having my mom try to take care of me. Tomorrow she won't remember what happened to my knee but she'll be just as compassionate as she was tonight. I'm sad for her too. I think we all wish we could find her. I think she wishes it more than anyone.

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metteharrison

(no subject)

from: metteharrison
date: Feb. 15th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
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What a beautiful post, Ann Dee. Thanks for writing it down for us all to share in.

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aprilhenry

(no subject)

from: aprilhenry
date: Feb. 15th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)
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Your words really move me. My dad died in 2003, but before he did, he was already gone.

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Feb. 15th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
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Geeez, Ann Dee. Big deep breath. You got me thinking today. And really wishing I did more and wrote more. Thanks, love. I love your mom too.

Sarah Smylie

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Feb. 16th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for this post. Lately I've been thinking a lot about journals and that I should start one and keep at it. I kept one when my girls were young and I love to read it. They do too. Your post is motivating.

I loved knowing your mom. I loved that I heard her say "damnit" one day. It made me feel better that good people can say naughty words and still be good. I use it often around my house.

I love your writing. Thanks for putting your words out there.

HollyW

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
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do you know any major issues for the book this is what i did?

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<jordan@live.com>

from: anonymous
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
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so in the book this is what i did tell me all the major issues in order

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