Friday, December 4, 2009

A Journal Entry From My 12-Year-Old Self

I can't remember which post it was exactly, but one written by Mama Kat over at "Mama's Losin' It" inspired this post. The following is a journal entry from my 12th year. These writings are at the same time inspiring, nostaligic, and just a little bit weird. See for yourself...




The first thing at which I marveled when I reread this entry was that I have turned into my mother. She had a large family herself, well, actually, only half the number of children I have, but it seemed large at the time, for me, as the oldest. She, too, enlisted our help for Sunday dinners and for all other occasions for that matter. I know I resented it, I remember resenting it, but I didn't express it in writing here. Perhaps I didn't resent it as much as I remember. Perhaps my kids don't resent me for asking them to help as much as I think they do. Perhaps....perhaps....

The second thing that struck me was that I made it a point to mention how nice we set the table. I still love a well-set table and almost always set our table with cloth napkins, glass plates, and lit tapers. Perhaps this means that as my daughters see me try to make dinner a special, pleasant experience each evening, they will choose to do the same in their adult years. Perhaps...

Nostalgia struck as I remembered my relationship with my paternal grandfather, born in Coahuila, Mexico. He died in 1993, and he is probably the person who has passed on I miss the most besides my father. I often find myself wishing he were here to share in my accomplishments of gardening, child-bearing, frugality and recycling, a few of his passions. For living in a time when recycling wasn't cool, Grandpa Tito was a keen recycler, storing old tin cans of bacon grease throughout his kitchen, saving pecan shells from the pecan trees grown in our yard, and always tossing veggie scraps into his make-shift compost bin.

But Grandpa Tito could splurge, and always did when we got good grades, sometimes even taking us out of school, without my mother's permission, for his famous shrimp lunches. Yeah, you can bet she loved it when her father-in-law did that.

Lastly, this journal entry was just plain weird because when I was 12, I liked to get into a chicken coop and catch roosters. While the 9-year-old boy currently finds pleasure in this, I certainly cannot imagine my 13- or 14-year-old children behaving in such a manner. Throwing a football or writing a song perhaps, but not chasing a rooster. Perhaps this means....okay, I really have no idea what this means. I think I was just weird. Still am....

Thanks for listening. And now, for your holiday enjoyment...

17 comments:

alessandra said...

Okay, today I have so many things to say...
first, you are not weird, you are peculiar, what a bore if we were all the same!
Second, It's so sweet to see your early beginnings in writing and describing your life, thing that now you do sooo well.
Third, i recently read a book, where the author explains so perfectly why we become what we become, and like you I noted a lot of analogies between me and my mom.
About asking the help of your kids, let's say, I was/am a only child, and during my childhood I was never asked to do anything, now I find it hard to put myself at work (housekeeping), so maybe a little training from the beginning is better.
And remember, for children, parents do always wrong, I complained with my mom because she gave me too much freedom, you see!

Kami said...

I love this! How funny :) I love the connections between your 12-year-old self and yourself today! It's amazing how many similarities there are and how much you were already shaping into the woman you would become!

Thanks for sharing this! :)

singlemormonchick said...

i loved reading your journal entry. i just might copy you and post one of mine. on the rare opportunity i read any of my old journals, i am often embarrassed of how silly i was and what i thought was sooooo important. i guess thats what journals are for; or at least one of their purposes-to show us how far we have come.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Singlemormonchick, let me just tell you how much I love your blog. It's awesome. I liked your comment about what purpose our journals serve. I think another purpose it serves me is that it helps me understand what my children are feeling and going through. Sometimes we forgot what it felt like to be an adolescent.

Emily@notionsonnesting.com said...

This is so funny. Makes me want to read my old journals.

Christine:) said...

What a neat thing to post! I started journaling around that age too, and I know that all of my old notebooks are still in my closet at my parents' house...maybe I should check them out one of these days.

As a mom, it must have been such a blessing to be able to go back and remember what was in your head and your heart at the same age that your kids are now.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Gayle said...

How cute that is, I love it. Someday your kids will too!

Shannon said...

Just wanted to say Hi and that I love your blog. You have a very open and honest way of writing.

Shannon

Sharon said...

Jen, thanks for sharing that little bit of your history with us. The first thing I was struck with was how neat your handwriting was!

I was LOL @ your grandpa not wanting to slaughter the chicken and having someone else do it. I shouldn't laught because I know I could NOT have done that. It has taken me years just to be able to handle a whole chicken from the store. Can't imagine having to be the one to kill it and pluck it, etc.

We have five kids (four girls and a boy) in our family, but so did lots of our neighbors so I didn't feel like we were a big family. We, too, helped our mom a lot. It was good training. I always thought my mom was an excellent cook and I have strived to provide delicious meals for my family as well. To her dismay, I am not the neatest housekeeper though. Messiness notwithstanding, I'm a lot like her and most days I consider that a compliment!

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Bethany Cox said...

i have a few things to say...
1) i probably have 7 journals here with me, the earliest going to about 1998 when i was nine. i love reading them, but none of the journals ever got filled completely and the beginning of each journal started out something like this..."I promise to write in you every day. I know i always say that, but this time i'm determined to keep my promise." and then i'll write for a few weeks or months and then the next entry would be a few months later.
2) didn't i know grandpa tito? how could he have died in'85?
3) ok, ok, i'll admit it. I LOVE making a nice dinner and setting the table accordingly. just on friday night i made spaghetti, salad, bought some garlic bread, and set the table so nicely with a new tablecloth and everything. it made me so happy. so there. i'm like you in that regard.

thedailydelights said...

Your journal entry was delightful...I was facinated by the catching of the rooster...you would have made the perfect playmate...we would have got into all sorts of mischief! :) Sadly, I think my 12 yr old journals mostly talk about babysitting and boys. I loved reading your refections of your grandpa and the shrimp dinner....how you have picked up so many things he and your mom did...sweet. thank you! luv, trina

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Bethany, you are absolutely right. He died in 1993. I don't know why I thought it was 1985. You were four and your brother was 1 1/2.

And yes, when I was writing this, I was thinking about how you like to have such nice dinners with your cute dishes on your cut-off Japanese table. I only wish I could have a dinner with you once in a while! You live too far away!

And you were always good at keeping a journal. Make sure you take good care of them because you are going to need them when you have kids! I wish I had written more!

Blia said...

Hi,
I just joined your blog via google follow. I am brand new to blogging, so I wanted to say that it has been inspiring reading about how you started with writing and blogging. If you get a chance please stop by my blog (at: http://superheroesmom.com (Insights From a Superhero's Mom). Please keep writing and thanks again for your posts.

Shalyce said...

Hi, just new to checking out your blog. I'm leaving you a comment because in the forum you said you liked it so I am. Loved the journal entry. It looks a little like some of mine, although I couldn't have drawn so much meaning out of my babbling. Stop by my blog for a visit if you want...

Hen Jen said...

this is really sweet, and what a gift to have writings from your 12 year old self! I'm thinking maybe I should start my kids with journaling like I keep meaning to...

Kristin said...

Wow, Jen, you have no idea how nostalgic the sight of your handwriting makes me - I just idolized your handwriting when I was young. Good thing I didn't idolize your spelling, though ;-)

I was just telling Cami, who has developed into a stone enthusiast, about how Grandpa Tito would let us play with his collection of semi-precious stones, and as I was telling her, I got such a wave of sadness that my kids never knew him. He was just such a neat person, huh. I think the more people pass on that you love, the more inviting death seems.