slice of life · writing

A Surprise on My Nightstand #SOL21

I can’t see much clearly until I don my glasses so I was startled when I didn’t have a clear view of my abnormally large digital clock. There was something rectangular on my nightstand. I switched on my lamp and moved in close for a look.

Isabelle must’ve slipped into my room early this morning to return the journal back to me. Tag, I’m it!

I noticed some sticky notes peeking out from the sides of the journal. I reached for my glasses and opened up to the marked pages.


Isabelle and I started the Just Between Us: Mother & Duaghter: The Interactive Journal & Activity Book, by Meredith and Sofie Jacobs, a few days ago. I had received a review copy from Chronicle Books and showed it to her after I opened my mail on Monday. We perused it together. I asked her, “Would you like to do this with me?” I figured she’d say, “Is either answer okay?” which is what she usually says before responding negatively to something she knows I want to do.

But… she surprised me! Isabelle said yes!

We decided I’d start writing and drawing and would return it to her. On Monday evening, I deposited the journal on her nightstand after she was asleep. The next morning, I walked into her room and found her looking really guilty at her desk.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Um… I’m writing in the journal, see?”

I. Was. Shocked.

Isabelle is a striving writer. Even though she agreed to do the journal with me, I didn’t think she’d actually do it. So, I walked out of her room and left her alone.

Sometime on Tuesday afternoon, she returned the journal to me. Tuesday evening and Wednesday were busy. But on Wednesday night, I wrote it in and left it on her nightstand. Isabelle left it on my bed sometime yesterday morning! So, last night, I took the time to respond to some of her writing (on the opposite page) and then left it on her nightstand around 9:30 p.m.


I asked Isabelle to come and talk with me about the journal once she was dressed this morning. She had elected to draw a picture on the page that says

Here’s a drawing of something that scares me.

(Mother, go back and put stickers over the drawing to make it less scary!)

Since the journal is private for us, I won’t share Isabelle’s picture. However, we talked, and then I added some stickers (from the enclosed sticker pages) to her picture to transform the picture into something happy.

Next, I asked, “Do you think we should decorate the cover?”

“Yes! Let’s use some of the stickers,” she replied.

Our new cover!

“Do you like passing this journal back and forth?” I asked.

“I do,” Isabelle replied.

“Well, I better start working on the drawing that scares me so you can make it less scary, shouldn’t I?”

“You should, Mommy.”


If this keeps up, you’ll see a blog post about this journal on Two Writing Teachers soon! (Again, without seeing any interior shots, because it’s private! Not even Marc can peek!)

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

21 thoughts on “A Surprise on My Nightstand #SOL21

  1. Love this. I also love that itโ€™s sparking Writing for Isabelle. Wren and I have one too. This post reminds me that the journal has been on my nightstand for quite a while. I owe Wren a response!

  2. I’m so glad you’re doing this with Isabelle. When my daughter was younger, she struggled to communicate “in the moment.” We decided to write letters back and forth in a journal. I still have these journals and treasure them. I hope you get as much from this experience as we did!

  3. What a special treat. And it seems like it will
    prompt not only great writing but also wonderful conversation. I may look to see if they have one for grandmothers!

  4. I think I was in third grade when my mom and I had an ongoing correspondence. We had a “mail box” where we left letters to each other and I think it was great for us at a time when our relationship was not always easy. Fun to have this in journal form.

  5. Oh my gosh, this is the greatest idea! I’m going to look for one for my daughter-in-law and grand daughter. Glad I read your story for this idea! What a treasure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. How wonderful is this? What a great vehicle for sharing thoughts or questions that might be too scary or too dicey to share aloud. Such a beautiful way to connect and writing time built in as well. Bravo!

  7. This is wonderful! I love this, โ€œIs either answer okay?โ€ My son used to (in his calmly snarky way) say, “So, I guess it wasn’t a choice?” Hahaha. He was right. And that same son and I wrote a story together while he was in college. He would right a little and then I would add a little. We just emailed it back and forth. It was so much fun. And very interesting to see how the flow of the story went in new directions, ones you hadn’t expected. Enjoy every moment of this journaling with your daughter and thank you for sharing it!

  8. This made my eyes well up with tears, love tears. This is so precious and beautiful – even if only this one time, seriously – what a memory. I love that it is OH SO PRIVATE. What a bond, Stacey!

    Also, I am super impressed that she has the self assurance and grace to ask, “โ€œIs either answer okay?โ€ – yay! That is a communication skill that will serve her well in relationships all her life.

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