When you’re a writer, you often take your ability to chronicle things for granted. Putting words to paper (or screen) day in and day out often becomes like any other job. It can even turn into a task, something you do on auto pilot, and you don’t typically realize the impact your sentences, paragraphs, and pages can make. I know because when I look back on the “Gigi’s World” columns I have penned for Staten Island Parent Magazine over the last 10 years, I’m amazed. It’s not the body of work itself that gives me pause, but the fact that I’d forgotten about so much that I’d written.
You see, I’ve been working on the monthly column for Staten Island’s leading parenting publication since my oldest daughter, Giavanna, was 4 months old. Back then it was called “Baby Gia’s World.” She’s now 11. Each month’s article presents a look at the world through her eyes. In the past decade, those installments have told tales of teething, potty training (too early), favorite cartoon characters, even the terror with which Gigi was fed french fries for the first time (I’ve always been deathly afraid of choking). “Gigi’s World” has recounted my daughter’s first steps, how I used to drive her around the block in order to get her to nap, the arrival of her sister, even the first great loss we suffered of our beloved dog Ollie.
The column also went on to highlight awards and trophies, family vacations, silly times on play dates, and friendships throughout the years. It’s memorialized those moments you swear as a parent you’ll never forget — how your firstborn daughter spent a year wearing only dresses; how tickled pink everyone was when she first learned to recite the Pledge of Allegiance; and that one movie she’d watch over and over again (ahhh, yes — “Madagascar”). Many of these seemingly indelible images of her early childhood had actually slipped my mind as my little girl started to grow into a young woman.
About a year ago, I began laminating all the past columns and assembling them in a binder. I was overwhelmed by memories of things I’d forgotten and perspectives that have since changed as I’ve raised my youngest daughter, Jordanna.
As Gigi and I move into our 11th year writing “Gigi’s World,” I’m so thankful for the commitment I made to my friends and colleagues at Staten Island Parent. Although some columns are tough to re-read, most notably the one where we share how our family lost Gigi’s Pop-Pop (my dad) on the same day as her 10th birthday, I know that where my mind may no longer wish to go, my heart sometimes must.
To be able to read and relive the journey our family has made since the wonderful day my Giavanna was born is yet another reassurance of why God gave me this talent. It’s a gift — one that has helped me heal when I was hurt, hope when I was discouraged, and remember those special moments of motherhood I had forgotten.
I had often dreaded the “Gigi’s World” monthly deadlines over the years – “I’m running out of things to write,” I’d often complain; “I have 70 other deadlines and now I have to do this?!” – yet now I see how very much I needed to write … to cherish. I consider myself blessed that those words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages enable me to reflect upon the most important deadline of them all – being present as a mom.