Friday, July 26, 2013

I am happy

As I was cleaning the girls' bedrooms a few weeks ago, I came across a small princess covered journal on Anna's cluttered nightstand.  I'm not sure if it's typical of all 6 year olds, but mine love to collect random items.  I usually let it go but it had been awhile since I had organized her room so I began the tedious process of decluttering.  In addition to the journal, there were crayons, a pen, a small birdhouse she painted at a birthday party, a birthday crown from school and random papers on the compact table next to her bed.  I recognized the journal as one she had received for Christmas, not this past year but the year before, and thinking that it was probably full, I started to flip through the pages.

I was a bit surprised to see new handwriting in between the pages with scribbles.  Anna's handwriting.  I couldn't make out some of the words.  There was a page with their names.  A page with something about school.  A page noting field day at school and "don't bring water bottles."  And then there was this:  I am happy.

I am happy.

I smiled.

I showed the journal to Anna, asking if she had written these things.  When had she written them?  Turns out she had been using it as a journal and writing in it at night.  How did I not know this?  I know my children have feelings but its sometimes difficult to see their maturity, like the fact that they would express those feelings in a journal, through the craziness of everyday life.

Many of my readers have found me through a connection with spina bifida.  When you're pregnant and you learn that your baby (or one of your babies) has spina bifida, it's devastating and frightening.  You don't know if your baby will survive and if she does, what her life will be like.  I share our story, Anna's story, to show that spina bifida doesn't have to mean a terrible life.  It's not an easy road to travel but we're here, moving right along.  There's always that unknown traveling along with us but if you think about it, there's an unknown in life with or without spina bifida.  


Kathleen said...

Oh my goodness, that is SO sweet. My eyes teared up reading this.

Anna is definitely not letting spina bifida hold her down. Anna, you probably will not read this, but please know that wherever you are and whatever you become, you will be an absolute rockstar.

Andrea Farrell said...

What an encouragement! I'm sure it did your heart good to see that, as it does all of us readers who love someone with spina bifida. I was referred your blog when my niece was born with spina bifida nine months ago. I also happen to have triplets! GGB age 3. So I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie said...

When and if you have any more doubts about your girls, and if you are doing the right things for them, remember this.

Cha Yungco-Salvador said...

My eyes kinda teared up too while reading this. I so can relate to what you just wrote especially the last paragraph. I have been following your blog and could always relate whenever you write about Anna and Spina Bifida. I have a 4 year-old daughter who has a heart condition. She looks just like any normal active kid and although we do have limitations and things are not always easy, it is not a terrible life.

Rebecca Joslyn said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! This definitely tugged at my heart this morning...I have a 6 month old little girl with SB. I love reading about all your girls..especially Anna :)

Wendy said...

Sweetest little muffin <3

Cindy said...

This made ME Happy. You are doing it right, Mama. You are doing it right.

Whitney said...

That is so, so beautiful to hear!

Michelle said...

That is so sweet. I am so happy that she is happy.

I have a question, and this is not judgement, I am interested to hear what other moms say. At what age do you let them keep a journal that is all to themselves? As in, you walked into her room, saw it and did not open it because it was private?

Obviously at this age, she is too young to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Or is she? I honestly don't know. I would have done the same because I would be more curious about her and her feelings, not being sneaky or anything.

Do you wait for them to express an interest in having personal thoughts?

Sarah said...

Michelle - I wouldn't necessarily put an age on it. For my kids, at 5 years old, journals were filled with scribbles (fake writing) and random words. This particular journal had many pages with questions like who is your favorite princess, etc. When I flipped through it, it was to see if it was full of scribbles b/c if it was, I was going to throw it out.

I find that journaling now at 6 is mainly informational. Most of things she had written were informational and not feelings. Like noting which day was field day at school or projects they worked on at school. Emily just started a journal last week and in it she had "I live on Maple Street. I have two sisters named Allie and Anna." This is the type of journaling they've done at school.

If she was 10 years old, no, I wouldn't pick it up and go through. At 6 years old with a messy room and just having learned to write, I'm going to flip through it to see if it's trash or a keeper.