Journaling with mom…
September 13, 2010 § 14 Comments
I signed up for a journaling class with Mom. First, you need to know that she’s a pioneer. A pioneer as in load-up-the-wagon,-we’re-moving-west.
Two years ago, at age 84, Mom packed up her upstate new york home and moved here to STL to be near us. What a relief to have her nearby. What a revelation, as well. OK, there are all kinds of stories in the prior few sentences, but addressing the moment, this moment, I found myself tonight in the meeting room of a town library in a journaling class, seated next to Mom. We signed up together for it.
She was a little nervous, I could tell. She kept clicking her pen. I reached over to put my hand over hers as people came into the room and took seats at the various long tables. (Mom and I arrived early, along with three of her friends – yes, she has made friends here like crazy) and while this was a good idea, to arrive early and get the lay of the land, it gave Mom time to think about being in a writing class with her daughter who is a journalist.)
Anyway, she stopped clicking her pen, and put her other hand over mine.
“In tai chi, you put the left hand first, then the right hand over the left,” she told me solemnly. She takes tai chi class every Tuesday. She has been surprised at the power…in herself. Really? She is one of the strongest women I know.
One man walked into the class. Some of the women cheered. This was to welcome him, I suppose. I thought he might turn around and walk out. He did not. He smiled and found a seat near the wall.
The class leader was a soft spoken librarian who spoke easily about journaling, how she perceived it, and soon enough had people volunteering to talk, sharing why they were there, what they thought journaling was, etc.
It was surprisingly very open.
I realized, too, that I need to get out more.
Why were we taking this class? the lead asked.
There were various responses.
I kept mine to myself. (I tend to do that in writing forums. I’m really quiet. No, really.)
However, I joined because I truly love to be with other writers or people who want to write.
So I was happy.
And right off the bat, I picked up two new points about journaling. (so already the class is worth it!)
OK, at one point, I answered a question, too, because I”m a frequent journaler and people were curious about that.
And Mom spoke! She’s friends with the woman who leads the class and the lead called on Mom to talk about what she was hoping for in terms of journaling.
And out it popped. The floodgates opened.
Mom said that while growing up with her younger sister they were both always made to worry about what other people thought or might think (because of their parents high visibility (via jobs & politics) in the community? Because it was a small community?
and she mentioned, too, that she and her sister were kept at a distance. Really? Our family was so warm and loving, I thought. Maybe not true of my maternal grandparents.
Mom wants to journal her way through examining her growing up years and experiences in the NY metropolitan area. I sense she has some tales to tell, some memories to share, centered around her and her sister who she loved dearly. They were always a pair, my Mom and my aunt (who died over a decade ago of breast cancer).
Mom also wants to journal her way to getting organized. She feels fragmented in her writing.
What? her writing?
She has poems in one pile, notes in another, thoughts and prayers in another, she said. Again, I say (only to myself: “Really?”)
I didn’t know about the poems, the prayers, the scribbled thoughts. I only thought she had piles of addresses and clippings and such.
There’s plenty I don’t know.
Apparently there will be some out-loud sharing going on in the next classes (over the next two months.) Some people will share; some people won’t.
I likely won’t.
I hope Mom will.
I hope she’ll at least share with me.
This is going to be one cool journey.