― Phyllis Diller
I helped raise two beautiful daughters, and they are the joy of my life. They were very easy to raise. When my youngest daughter wanted a pet, she was easily satisfied with the spider that was hanging out on our back door. When I promised the girls a ten course meal one time, they were thrilled with course number four: a baby carrot with three holes dug into it by a potato peeler into which I inserted three carob chips. Voila! I had created a taste sensation that we named “Three Men in a Boat.” The other 9 courses weren’t much more advanced than course number four, but we had a good time.
At a young age, the girls learned to dress themselves. It didn’t matter to me if they wanted to wear sweat pants in the summer or polka dots with stripes. It was all good. They cringe now when looking at old photos, and accusingly ask me why I ever let them out in public looking like that. Personally, I thought it was cute.
The sad thing about raising my daughters is that there is quite a lot that I just don’t remember. I don’t know if I just naturally have a sieve for a memory, or if I was just in too much of a funk to pay attention a lot of the time. My own childhood is the same for me; very few memories. I truly believe that it was my depression that disabled me from appreciating what was going on in the moment a lot of the time.
For a while, when the girls were young, I wrote a biweekly column for a local newspaper and would tell little stories about the girls and our family life. It was a small paper with a readership of maybe 700. Of course that’s roughly 350% more readers than I have now, but still, no big thing. I saved the articles and have enjoyed rereading them because they help me remember the fun we had. They are my memory. Recently I tried to find the clippings and cannot do so. It will be a great loss to me if I am unable to locate them. I think the need to remember is playing a big part in why I am writing again. I don’t want to lose my memory of my time right now, my time when I am actually happy.
My daughters are still very prominent in my life, and I really don’t think they have much room to talk about how I let them dress as children – not when they, as teenagers, chose to wear Converse sneakers with their prom dresses. (I loved it.) And as adults, I am still very proud of them. How could you not take pride in how you raised your daughters when they grow up to be nicknamed “Mad Dog” and “The Terminator” by their coworkers?
At brain school (outpatient treatment) we were encouraged to journal as part of our therapy. I don’t know that I will ever go back and read those entries. But I think that writing helps us pay attention and be a little more reflective about our lives. It helps us get in touch with ourselves. It doesn’t have to be deep, thank God, and it doesn’t have to be lengthy. It just has to be real. I would encourage anyone and everyone to write. It does the soul good.
For me, it’s been long overdue.