I capture stories for those left behind.

When my kids are grown and I’m no longer around, they will have their books.

I like to think of the kids flipping through the pages and laughing about the funny things they did. They’ll see my handwriting on the page and hear my voice. They’ll read about the fun we had, the silly memories, our time together as a family, and they will be reminded of how much I love them.

Because sometimes kids don’t get to have their moms.

My aunt and four little cousins died in a tragic house fire. A family friend passed away suddenly and left behind her two kids. When my Auntie Carolyn died, I watched my cousins try to move on without her. From a young age, I learned that we can die at any time; death is not just for those in their 80s and 90s.

When I hear a story of a young mom passing away and leaving behind her babies or toddlers, I think to myself – they will never know their mom. They will never know their mom. And that’s heart breaking to me.

Because there’s something about our moms.

They carry us inside of them. We can recognize their voices before birth. They are the ones we turn to when we need emotional support because they have known us since the beginning. They are our roots. And our stories begin with our moms.

And I never want my kids to feel alone. I want them to feel like I am with them always and the way I can do that is through writing. I can share pieces of their story so they always have them. I can tell them how much I love them and they can read the words when they are old and grey. I will be there with every flip of the page because writing is timeless.

And so now I embark on two big projects that are really important to me: writing our family story for the kids and writing my life story. The family story is beautiful. I have it drafted and ready to move into a program to print. The universal threads through it are touching and profound. It’s my way of showing the kids that they are a part of something so much bigger.

And my life story feels like a weird one to write. It seems a little self-absorbed to write a story about myself. And at the same time, I want them to know their mom.

So in March I start the family book and hope to have it printed by April. In April or May (I might need a bit of a break before tackling another one), I’ll start my life story.

I feel like if those two pieces are done, if something were to ever happen to me, I’ve left them with their stories, their family, and their mom.