Last Christmas my 11 year old grandson gave me a journal in which I was asked to answer many questions about my life. There's a question to be answered on every page.
It hasn't been easy, especially the writing part, you would never know from my handwriting now that I excelled at that when at school. Maybe not, but the nuns approved. I had worked hard at light upstrokes and heavier downstrokes, keeping the angle just so. For years I always used a fountain pen to write letters, eschewing that modern evil, the ballpoint pen, known as the Biro (which the nuns said were common). I really bought into all that propaganda taught to us by the nuns.
Now I can't even find my fountain pen, haven't been able to for a number of years although I still have the ink. After all, it might turn up again.
I have to give myself a good kick every now and then and hit myself with the hard truth. It's not the biros fault that my handwriting is crap, it's lack of care.
So I've been taking care because I know my old-fashioned handwriting is hard for a modern child to read. Here the young ones don't seem to do cursive writing anymore. And I find I have to fight the tendency to miss out letters, my hand can't keep up with my thoughts.
And then there's the challenge of what to write that a child might find interesting. An example - the question "How did you feel when you were told you were going to be a grandparent?" And there's a blank page sitting in front of me. Immediately I think of the first time that happened but the child doesn't really want to know about the announcement about a much older cousin. And it should be the truth. Right? Not, "Thank the Lord, none of us could have put up with all that for much longer." IVF treatments had not been easy for that hopeful mother-to-be.
I think I'll have to write a poem, once upon a time that was something I did a lot, rarely do I feel moved to do so these days.
I still have a number of blank pages to complete before Christmas when I hope to return the book to Aiden.
I've looked closely at the binding wondering if I ripped a couple of pages out would he notice. I mean, does he really need to know about or be the slightest interested in the "most difficult" times of my life.
I think I will be honest to that one and write, "Right now."