The Shared Journal Revival: Mother/Daughter Time

The summer between 6th and 7th grade was an uneasy one for my daughter, Alexa. She was not only filled with excitement but mostly fears about beginning the 7th grade in a new school. She never was one who adapted well to change.

Over the summer, the year before, we’d formed a Mother/Daughter book club with three of her friends and their moms. Once school was out, we made a date at the mall for lunch and to the bookstore, so each of the girls could choose a book that we’d all read over the summer. The book chosen by each of the girls determined the host of the book club meeting. Our book, appropriately called The Mother/Daughter Book Club, was one for which we’d host a pool party and summer treats as we’d talk about the characters and the story. Moreover, the connection was made that we’d begun our own mother/daughter ritual.

Also, that summer, I attended a party at a friend’s house and one of our many treats was that she’d hired a psychic for each of us to be read. Her reading for me included a warning of sorts in that she told me it was the last summer I’d have with my daughter before she entered the stage of wanting to be with her friends all of the time.

I heeded her warning, even though, I was skeptical– knowing my daughter, but also taking into consideration that I’d been through this stage twice with my boys at about the same age.

Coming up with the idea of shared journal is one that Alexa and I began with eagerness that summer. My underlying hope was that she’d confide her fears about the changes happening in her life and to her body in the journal if she felt uncomfortable sharing them in conversation. We wrote back and forth sporadically. She began, and when she completed an entry, she left it under my pillow for me to find, read at my leisure and then respond. Then, I’d leave it under her pillow and the process would repeat.

We kept this up on and off for about two years before, once, one of us has forgotten to respond and the journal lay in her drawer.

She found the journal about a week ago, and read it, feeling bittersweet. Surprised, she shared with me some of what we’d written, having long forgotten about the content, leaving me with the suggestion to read it in its entirety on my own. As a result, we’ve decided to revive the Mother/Daughter journal– appropriately so, as she enters a new stage of her life.

Completely having transitioned from wanting to be Mommy’s little girlfriend to wanting to spend her (almost) every waking moment with her friends. Being pulled in all directions, as a sophomore in high school who is an honor/high honor student, who also plays three sports (field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse)– suffice it to say, her life has taken direction of it’s own. But my daughter, being my daughter, has not lost sight that while we might not have the quantity of time we once had– the time we spend together certainly is quality. We make time to take shopping excursions or eat out for lunch or breakfast or enjoy a spa day. We have shared t.v. time and even talk about the books we are reading. We’ve even established a holiday all of our own– a play-hooky-from-work/school day that we call Donna/Daughter day– just me and her time that we take spontaneously once during the school year.

I know our relationship is bound to go through many more changes, but it’s important to never lose sight of the special bond we have or our quality time.


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