Random Ramblings

I’m a private person by nature. I love to teach. I love to write. I keep a journal which I write in most days. I truthfully may need to admit to being a journal addict. Sometimes, my journals read more like random ramblings than a series of events, lessons learned or experiences shared. Saying all of this, a most kind and compassionate reader of my books approached me.

“You know I really like reading your books, but I’d really like to get to know you. You sound like someone I’d choose to be my best friend.” Random Ramblings

I was so flattered. Of course, I wrote down the comment (because I do that …) and smiled. Getting to know people is easier than permitting others to get to know you. There is risk associated with letting others into one’s life. Today is the beginning of a new voyage. One to open myself to my readers. To those who do want to get to know me as a person – not just a teacher or a writer. My website now will sport a blog with random ramblings, experiences and more of a personal nature. This shouldn’t be so hard, right? After all, a blog is simply a variation of journal keeping. But a journal for the world to read.

Which bring me full circle — back to the journals.

I’ve moved 52 times during my life and I am not even 50 years old. (I just turned 49 years old this past week.) I am not a military brat. I am the daughter of man who loved change and loved to create new experiences for himself and his children. Later in life, career and jobs added to the moving tally.

During each of these moves, my sons look at my boxes of journals. Like all books, they are heavy. There are many of them. I am currently writing in journal number 34 and that doesn’t count the added planners, agenda, notes and learning journals. I have three sons and three daughters. The girls don’t tease me about the journals. They tend to be more sentimental that they will have a record of their mother one day. The boys … endless harassment! Until …

David, my second child and oldest son, reluctantly approached me. I could see it took monumental effort for him to walk up while I was cooking. I mistakenly thought the teenager was worried he’d be roped into some task to help with the dinner prep.

“Mom, I need something from you.”

“Anything, son. What do you need?” I barely looked up from chopping vegetables.

“My scout records are a bit messed up. I’m sure I have enough camping nights to get my camping merit badge but can’t prove it.” (Time out to add … not a journal keeper. Had he been writing down the camp nights in the scout book. Well, this would have been a different story, right?)

I stopped what I was I doing to turn and face him. “What do you need from me?” (I know. It was rubbing salt in the wound, but I couldn’t help myself.)

“Will you please go through your journals and write down my camping dates? I also need the places.” The question obviously took an enormous amount of energy to ask as his shoulders actually stooped in process.

David and I sat on the floor in my master closet and went through the journals together. We gathered all of the dates. He was right. He had earned the camping merit badge. He even had one night more than he needed.

You’d think this would be the remarkable ending to the story and cessation of the journal teasing, but it isn’t. The youngest boy is now 15 years old. He is number five of the six children, one of the last two who still live at home.

“Hey, Colin, want to go to run some errands with me? Maybe go to Barnes and Nobles?”

“That’d be awesome.” He loves Barnes and Nobles, but he paused, swiftly recalling me writing at the end of the current journal. “Is this for journal shopping? Because if it is, I pass.”

“Oh, come on. This will be wonderful and I don’t want to go by myself.”

“Mom, journal shopping with you is the most painful part of being in this family. You have to look at each one. You make sure the lines aren’t too close or too far apart. Then, you make sure the journal lays flat because you don’t like it when it won’t. Then, to make it worse, you are so embarrassing because you actually smell the book.” During this speech, the boy falls back onto the living room chair, determined to not move.

The sad part is that I cannot rebuke the accusation. He is right. He even missed part of the process – determining whether or not a pen will bleed through the paper. You’d also think that at this point I’d leave and go alone, but I don’t. I resort to bribery. “I’ll buy you a new book if you go with me and help me choose a new journal.” Why do I resort to this? I could go alone, but I enjoy this kid. He has a quick wit and makes one liners as I go through each journal. Once while journal shopping, I picked up a journal with a picture of an owl on the front. His quip went something like this, throwing his voice as if speaking like the owl, “Write in me. Write in me or I’ll stare you down until you do.” I put the owl journal back on the shelf.

(I read this entry to Colin. He is hoping that I’ll move digital and end the journal shopping persecution to which he is afflicted. Ugh!)

Are we always this fun? Nope. There is sibling rivalry. There are also sad days, but I am most blessed because most of my days are happy. I am truly grateful for all that I enjoy.

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Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

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