I spent my morning writing time today staring at my son’s high school graduation cap and gown and trying not to smear the pages of my journal with tears. I am not certain how permanent this ink is after all. This final week of my son’s K-12 education is hard for me. He is going to college only a few hours from home, but this graduation ends so many things. Never again will I start and end his school days with talks about his plans and the events of the day. Never again will I know so many of the players in his story. The hardest struggle of all is making this time about him. I want him to know how proud I am of the person that he has become and how excited I am to see what he does with the many options opening up before him. But most of all I want to tell him how much he means to me and how much his presence has impacted my life and the lives of others. Which is why I’m sitting in his bedroom with my writing journal. Most of all, though, I do not want my messages to be an anchor that holds him back. As much as I want to cling to him I want to be his springboard.
As I have noted before, I struggle with writing about emotions (except maybe anger, not sure what that says about me). It is so hard not to sound like a greeting card or made-for-television movie. So as I try to write these messages to my son I am falling back on some of the writing prompts that have helped me in the past and thought I would share those here in hopes that they would help other writers too. I have identified six prompts that I think can help me write to or about my son. Maybe these prompts will help you write about or to someone significant in your life:
- What is Your Gift is an incredible prompt for writing about parenting and children. The poem that inspired this prompt always chokes me up as a mother, but it could be such an interesting prompt from the perspective of the child as well. How do the “gifts” we receive from our parents effect us in both beneficial and detrimental ways?
- Originally, I saw Capture a Moment as a memory prompt and that is how I wrote in response creating a poem about a memory of my grandmother, but now as I think about it I am inspired to write about a snapshot in my mind’s eye of my son. I know there are a million billion trillion moments I could write about but there are also many meaningful moments when being his mom has taught me an important life lesson too.
- Make a List is one of the simplest prompts and yet they can be fraught with emotion and so representative of a person, place, or moment
- Praise Poetry is a more complicated task and yet might, in some ways, be the easiest because you can simply acknowledge the wonderful moments and traits of the person you want to write about or to.
- I have most often used the I Wish You Knew prompt as a release valve for angry writing, but it could work equally well for a prompt to write to someone you care about or think about.
- My final prompt might be a bit of a stretch but I think it is one that I want to attempt. What Does the World Need is an important question we should all think about (and definitely write about) but I think it is also an important question for parents to think about when choosing to bring a child into the world as well as the choices made while raising the child.
Simply contemplating these prompts has helped ease my heart a bit and prepared me to write. I hope they help you on your writing journey as well. And I hope for all of us always that writing will provide comfort, growth, and healing. Remember to #JustWrite!