Becoming a grandmother coincided with the big five-o. I pondered what legacy I could leave my very first grandchild. If I were an artist, I would paint a lovely piece for his or her nursery. If I were a musician, perhaps I could compose a lullaby. Since my skills at both are pathetic, I decided upon a journal. I am after all a writer. I was anxious to chronicle how special this life was to our family.
I began early in August when I learned about my daughter’s pregnancy. I continued the journal up until the birth date the following May, I addressed my entries to “Dear Baby.” Thanks to modern medicine, we learned his gender. His parents named him Jonathan meaning honoring God. From that point on it was, “Dear Jonathan.”
At first, it seemed odd to write letters to someone I had not met. But it didn’t take long for my entries to cultivate a special relationship. The more I wrote to Jonathan the more the love grew within my heart. For posterity and his amusement as an adult, I included his first sonogram, tidbits of family facts, and made him privy to my fears on becoming a grandmother.
As much as I wanted this honor, it would change my life forever. I raised two girls, what did I know about boys? I felt free to admit my deepest emotions since I knew I it would be years before he would read them. This unique way of journaling Jonathan’s prenatal time and his birth were exciting for me. It was a special gift, and when I began, I had no way of knowing that my “baby journals” would become a tradition.
Andrew, Jonathan’s brother, arrived twenty-two months later. He was followed in less than a year by Hudson, a cousin. Within two more years, we had the “twin cousins” — Michael and Cooper. To round it out, our family welcomed Maddox and Miller completing the “magnificent seven.”
Journaling each pregnancy and birth was daunting, but I felt it was important to record as much as I could. Like the original journal, each grandson has his own pictures, sonograms, and events. I even told them about their brothers and cousins. At the time, I wondered what their reactions would be as grown men looking at the baby journal that Mimi had made for each of them. They hopefully would realize the love I had for them even before I held them in my arms. As a bonus, these journals have become invaluable resource when I needed to recall an event in writing a personal essay.
To house this burgeoning mass of materials, I purchased seven photograph boxes and inscribed each with a grandson’s name. Inside I placed each journal complete with information on the date of his birth. These remain my treasure boxes where I collect valentines, special cards, photographs, drawings, handbills from plays or concerts, and memorabilia connected with each of my magnificent seven.
When my grandsons reach adulthood, I will give them their special collection. They will know that that were part of my life long before their birth. Using my writing ability, I was able to bless my unborn grandsons. My love for them began long before their birth and will last forever.
. . . she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all. (Psalm 3:26ff)
The tradition I began as a letter to my first grandson has become a legacy of love to my family.
Sheila S. Hudson is an award winning writer of cozy mysteries. Her current series is Crimes from the Crypt. Others include Silent Partners, The Thursday Club, and Ministry Can Be Murder. She is co-president of Southeastern Writers Association and Vice President of Sisters in Crime (Monroe). Sheila has been writing and teaching writing workshops for more than 25 years. She and her husband have 2 daughters, one son, seven grandsons, and one cranky chiweenie.