I own a book I would run into a burning building to save. If ever my house is destroyed by a tornado and my possessions are strewn across 50 miles of Texas wetlands, I would not rest until this book was found.
The first words I wrote in this book are "Incipit Vita Nova"..... Here beginith a new life.
This is the book I am writing for my daughter and though I don't write in it everyday, I use it to record the simplest and greatest moments of our everyday life.
I found this journal in an antique store back in Florida. The jacket is red embroidered silk but the true magic is inside. Each rice paper page is elaborately decorated with a peacock motif. It's like the book itself is celebrating every written entry!
From the book plate just inside the cover to all the motifs of journeys and good luck, this wee book holds all that I value more than gold. These are the memories no person can steal, but time can take away.
Sometimes I pull out this book and open to a random page. I am instantly transported back to Hurricane Frances when elecrticty had been off for days and my husband read Edgar Allan Poe aloud as we listened by candlelight. Another leap in pages brings me to Emily's first Homecoming dance. Yet another turn is just an ordinary day in February when I paused to let her know her latest crazes and ambitions.
There are momentos tucked in pages, random notes with sentiments of love and milestone markers.
There are also favorite quotes and of course her first hunting license and driving permit. I am often rummaging her floor for discarded items she sees as trash but I see as tokens of growing up.
Inside this book there are family secrets I want her to know. There are explanations to questions she asked when she was not old enough for the answer. There are also the stumblings of growing up and the lessons learned from bad actions. And there are my hopes, dreams, fears and opinions about who she becomes as the years pass. It is literally my book of everything.
One day when she has children of her own I will gift it to her to remind her that every moment is significant.
I wish I could say this was my idea but it actually came from a young girl I counseled many years ago. She was placed in the runaway shelter by her strict Christian parents for her refusal to throw away thong underwear she had bought with her own money. She was a dream child: straight A's, polite, but at very strong odds with her parents' religious pressures. She showed me a journal she was keeping in the event she one day had a daughter. She wanted to remember how she felt as a teen so she would be an understanding parent in her future.
I never knew how her story played out. I can't even remember her name. But she changed me more than I could have ever helped her.
My daughter is now 17, a senior in high school- the same age as that girl from the runaway shelter. When I look back through this book I tear up with the memories of joys and tragedies that compile our life's story. I have just enough pages left in this book to capture her senior year. Then I will be on the hunt for a new book to record her journey out into the world. The first written words will be the same:
Incipit Vita Nova.
LOVE & MEMORIES