Mom Takes Notes, February 2020 | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Mom Takes Notes, February 2020 

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When my niece was born nine years ago in Helsinki, and I became an aunt for the first time, I was 29 years old and 3,900 miles away in Boston. I'd had my heart broken and was doubting my ability to finish my PhD. The distance between us — both geographic and situational — left me wondering how I could bridge that gap.

When my niece is in her late twenties, I thought, would she be dealing with the same kind of self-doubt and heartbreak as I was? Would she come to me and ask what it was like for me when I was her age? Or would the gap between us remain constant? Would she believe that her fiftysomething aunt was incapable of understanding?

I started to draw illustrated notes for her to read when she got older, to give her a window into who I was and the issues I faced at specific times in my life. I hoped that, in this way, we could "meet" at a similar age.

Now, I am a mother. Every week, I think of something I wish I could share with my daughter, but I encounter the same dilemma as with my niece: a toddler is too young to hear these thoughts. Simultaneously, I am doubtful that my daughter, 20 years from now, will ask for or listen to advice from her middle-aged mother. My solution is the same as with my niece: I start drawing notes. They are my logbook of life and love, from a younger me to an older her.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Elisa Järnefelt

Elisa Järnefelt

Bio:
Elisa Järnefelt is a South Burlington-based illustrator and writer originally from Finland. She enjoys telling complex stories with seemingly simple drawings. Her illustrated column about parenthood appears monthly in Kids VT. You can see more of her drawings at elisajarnefelt.com... more

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