An unexpected side effect of the kids reading all the Wimpy Kid books this summer has been that BalletBoy had a sudden, burning desire to have his own diary. So we let him pick one out.
It’s a lovely blue Moleskin notebook that he pulls out every night to write on its tiny lines. He has been very devoted about it for a couple of weeks now, writing even when I know he’s bone tired and ready to sleep. It makes him so happy and proud to have it and put his thoughts inside.
And what a practical thing he’s doing too. He’s learning the date, which he asks before he starts every evening. He’s writing every single day of his own accord! Since starting it, he’s so much calmer at bedtime and less morose as well. No more long musings on where did the day, the week, his whole childhood go. He’s much more snuggly and chill when it’s time for lights out.
IT’S. KILLING. ME.
No, really. That journal sits there (because it routinely gets left by my bed) begging me to look inside and see what he wrote. What are these deep thoughts my eight year-old is pouring onto the pages? What is he saying about his day? Is he happy? Is he sad? I am dying to look inside and find out.
Of course, I can’t. I really, really can’t. If I look now, I’ll never stop. Every kid has the right to a private life. I can remember my own childhood diaries with all my deep thoughts and musings and secrets. I would have been horrified if my parents had read it. Of course, I respect BalletBoy and I won’t look at it. But I admit that it’s been a small struggle. What a surprise to find that my little boy has a secret life now, a part of his life I can’t see. And as he gets older, he’ll only have more secrets and private thoughts.
That’s as it should be. And the trade off is that he’ll also continue to get more interesting, more eloquent, more critical about the world. It’s all just part of growing up. So BalletBoy goes off to bed and I leave the diary where it was. I don’t pull back the fancy elastic closure and BalletBoy’s secrets all stay secret.