I have a hand-written journal. A diary, some may call it. I've had one after another since the third grade when I received my very first diary as a birthday present. I loved that diary. It had green stripes and pink flowers on the cover in a lovely soft fabric. It even had a little gold lock on the side so I could write about all of my third grade crushes without worrying my three older brothers would find it and tease the daylights out of me. I found out years later, after loosing the keys, that a good strong tug and that diary would spill it's guts to anyone who could read. I'm glad I didn't know that in third grade.
My journal now is just a book with plain, unlined, creme pages. No fancy and unreliable lock on the side. No green stripes. No flowers. Still, I treasure it the same way I did that first diary. And today is a strange day. I'm done with my journal. There are no more pages left. And while I am fully prepared to go out and buy another one as I have done many times over the years, this time it is different.
I've had this journal for almost 7 years now. A long time to have a journal, I agree. I received it as a bridal shower gift from a friend of mine and started writing in it that first year of marriage. No, I didn't write in it every day. There were times when I forgot to write in it for an entire month. Still, it has captured so many milestones. So many major events are tenderly written about in it's pages. My elation at being a newlywed. My nervous anticipation when we bought our first home. My even bigger thrill of being pregnant for the first time. It felt the wrath of my pregnant hormones and soaked up my postpartum tears. It has been with me through all of my pregnancies and the first year of each of my boys. It learned about my mother's diagnosis with cancer when I did. It felt my broken heart over my dad's struggle with Alzheimer's. It has been with me a long time. And it is strange to put it aside, finished, and move on to another one.
And I wonder, what will this next journal will see? Another baby? I hope so. A new house? Perhaps. I try to envision my life another 6 years from now, and I have no idea where I will be. Who I will be. Will the next 6 years bring as much change as the past 6 years have? I really don't know. Whatever the changes, I hope the new journal will see as many blessings, good times, and warm memories as this journal has. I hope the good times will outweigh the bad times. And I hope I will be as happy as I am today.