In this age, especially in Singapore, with families consisting of busy, working parents, it’s not uncommon to see children under the care of their grandparents. In my primary school days, I remember having a number of friends who would go straight to their grandparents’ house before being picked up by their parents later in the evening. In neighbourhoods, one can often see grandparents taking a stroll with their grandchildren. Even now, as adults, I know of friends who are extremely close to their grandparents, often keeping in touch with them via weekly meetings and FaceTime. Grandparents are able to bond with their grandchildren in a way parents aren’t able to — there’s little disciplining, more pampering, fun, and excitement. It’s unsurprising, then, that grandparents and grandchildren create a special bond that is precious and cherished. And it’s only right that these memories be penned down and immortalised. Be it a digital blog or a traditional, physical book, there are many reasons that grandparents could and should create a journal.
1. For Cherished Memories
Journals are a great way to connect and remember moments that meant a lot to you. Where photographs can capture moments, words often seize emotions and meanings in their own unique way.
Which memories do I journal about?
Surprise! You have all the creative reign in the topics you choose to journal about! Are you excited about the birth of your grandchild? You can start with that! Journal your excitement and nervousness as you build-up to the Big Day. Digging up forgotten toys, old cribs, unused baby clothes — whatever it is, it’s completely valid to pen down.
Or, you can pen down the growth of your grandchild through your eyes. The little fingers no longer being as little, the small feet slowly growing out, their bodies slowly getting more and more defined. Of course, this growth won’t be as obvious when you see them often or every day, but the growth will look apparent on the days you decide to look back on your journals. In fact, you don’t have to journal their growth. As they grow older, you can take note of the great memories you’ve had with them, making the journal a beautiful compilation of your dear memories.
How do I journal about memories?
What you might have in mind are the traditional pink and blue books full of ribbons, baby shower napkins, and printed photographs, but the journalling you do doesn’t have to exhaustive and extensive. Simply writing a blog, or writing down entries in a diary could be enough.
You could get a blank notebook, and fill it in: unrestricted and unbounded by the lack of guidance in these pages. Alternatively, you could get a prompt journal (right here at Revel) that would encourage you to fill in the diary based on the various stages of your grandchild’s life.
2. As a Gift
These journals can be a gift for yourself, for your child, or your grandchild. Free in their use and meaning, you could choose to present them as a gift to whoever you want to, depending on the meaning you want to bring across.
For your grandchild
There’s nothing more worthwhile than receiving a journal of handwritten notes, with the painstaking effort taken to fill it up and keep it safe. You could give these to them at the one-year mark, and give them one every year, or two years or five. Whichever period you want to dedicate yourself to and whichever you think you can pull off, that’s the time period you should go for. It would be wondrous for your grandchild to see themselves through your eyes. In fact, you may have inscribed flashbacks that your grandchild might have not even remembered.
For your child
This may not seem as obvious, but the journal could be pass-it-down present. Fill in memories of your grandchild for one, two, or even five years, and then pass it down to your child as a present. I’m sure it would be lovely for them to see how their parents and child interact and develop a relationship. After which, they could choose to fill in and pass it down to their child as a present as well. So, in a way, this does end up with your grandchild as well, but takes a stop along the way. It’s extra special that it’s multi-generational and encompasses a multitude of relationships, dynamics and written memoirs.
This journal is a hotpot of the best (and the worst) times of your family. Even though it’s specifically focused on your grandchild, relationships within a family are like a bunch of tangled wires, and it’s no doubt that these written entries come with the combined memories of other family members too. Thus, they’re a priceless collection of your family’s growth and their epoch. Make it a gift to yourself; fill it up conscientiously, and read it back to yourself every few months. As your grandchildren grow older and get busier, it’s difficult to keep in touch as often. Thus, keep this journal and read it whenever you find yourself missing them — a nostalgic gift for your sentimental self.
There are multiple reasons why journaling is encouraged, but at the heart of it, it’s really about furthering bonds and keeping families strong, which is important for many grandparents out there. The responsibility to keep families together and attached might seem daunting, but it’s really easier than one would think. It doesn’t take extravagant daily dinners, or extensive effort to keep in touch with your grandchildren. Even if they do get busy, know that the bond of love and respect stays instilled. It’s really the small but meaningful things, like journalling, (or photographing, or making art), that create and strengthen the bond between both of you.