An Editor’s Thoughts on Journaling, Gift Giving, and Preserving Life’s Special Moments

A photo of a woman writing in a journalBy Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

Writing in a journal was something I had always thought was a good idea, but I had never officially done it. When my twin sons started school, however, I decided it was a perfect way to remember special days during their school years. I would record them from a mother’s perspective. Then on my boys’ graduation day, I would present them with wonderfully detailed accounts of their activities.

I began with two new red-fabric-covered journals, one for each of my boys. On their first day of school, I sat down to record my feelings. Tears streamed down my face as I realized that life would never be the same, that I would be sharing only a part of each day with them from now on. I cried and wrote and cried and wrote.

Then, I decided a daily accounting was not going to work. Twelve years later, I had written maybe 20 pages in each journal. This was actually for the best, I thought. How many 18-year-old guys are going to read 12 years of their mother’s emotional renderings?

Yet within those few pages, written at varying intervals, I had recorded first loves, prom dates, fun trips, and my sons’ reactions to these special times. Had I not written them in the journals, the moments might have been forgotten.

At graduation time, I still had not given up on the idea of presenting journals to my boys. This time, I purchased two leather books and began writing a letter to each son. I cried and wrote and cried and wrote. I passed them to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, and special friends, one by one. And on graduation day, I gave my sons journals filled with wonderful handwritten letters, recounting funny happenings, meaningful times, and wishes for the future.

My boys appreciated their journals. But as a mother, I realized they would cherish these gifts even more in the years ahead.


How do you preserve life’s special moments and share them with others?

Journals give us a place to record precious moments in a special way. Putting personal thoughts and feelings on paper may seem awkward at first—but keep writing. Even awkward words can convey great meaning.

If you are looking for a unique gift, plan to present a journal for a special occasion. (Stay tuned for our journal gift guide coming soon in Part 2 of this post!) They make for fun and lasting commemorations, and they get others involved in the enjoyment of journaling.

See more thoughts from our publisher Phyllis Hoffman DePiano on her blog, The Ribbon in My Journal.

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