I never thought I would be the woman who became a blubbering mess when her kids went to school, but that’s exactly what happened. I’m not talking the first day. All parents cry on the first day. But for weeks, I had a difficult time letting go. It wasn’t that I had nothing to do. On the contrary, I had plenty of projects to fill my time. It was that I couldn’t help feeling like I was missing out on their day. I wondered what experiences they were having that I would never know about.
One day, I picked up a Sharpie and started to doodle. I didn’t plan to draw anything. I just let my mind and my pen wander. I found peace in the flow of the shapes and the act of creating them. I started to leave a notebook open on the counter, and just doodle whenever I felt inclined.
My boys began to ask if they could draw with me, and I said sure. I got them special notebooks we called drawing journals. About once a day, I would say, “Do you want to draw in your journals?” Most times, they happily responded yes and went to gather their markers.
I loved seeing how their drawings progressed. Kellen’s journal can be especially profound because he literally started off scribbling, and I can track the day he drew his first “thing”- a picture of a tree.
Journals became our go-to gift for birthday parties. A friend told me after I gave her daughter a drawing journal for her fifth birthday, she made an exceptionally sweet entry. She had her dad write “Today is my birthday. I had a party with all my friends. I am happy,” or something equally adorable.
We now have guest journals at our house. If you come over for dinner, you better expect to do some drawing before dessert.
But the journals keep giving. When you need cool, unique gifts, you simply photograph or scan the pictures to create one of a kind items. This year for Christmas, we made coaster sets featuring drawings created by the boys. They became conversation pieces. The boys titled each drawing, so when we sat down to dinner, one would ask “what coaster do you have?”
“Oh, I have ‘Two Pandas Swimming in the Ocean.'”
“I have ‘Pumpkin Man with Visor.'”
I had the coasters made at walgreens.com, but I have used redbubble.com to make t-shirts, and notecards, as well. I’ve even started selling works in my redbubble shop.
Drawing journals have endless possibilities. And are a heck of a lot easier to keep track of than all of the random drawings that come home in the back pack each day.