The Turn of a Key

Also re-published as “What I Found in My 5-Year-Old’s Diary” on Huffington Post.

She has been asking for a kids diary for a while now.

Her brother gave her a spare he had, and she has been announcing on a daily basis, “Do NOT look at me, Mama. I’m writing in my diary.”

She keeps the key on a ring on her finger, and even chose a special pen.

I wondered what she was writing in there. She’s almost 6 years old, and there’s a lot going on in that pretty little head of hers.

Was it a place she wrote what worries her? Is she describing her scary dreams at night? Is she sad I made her and her brother clean the basement for hours this weekend? Does she not understand why sometimes Daddy works late at night or travels for days at a time?

Curiosity got the best of me, and with a heavy, worried heart, I unlocked her diary to see what was inside.

Turn of a Key by @LetMeStart #kids #diary

What did I find?


She has been practicing sounding out words and spelling them phonetically by making a long list of all the things she loves, all the things that make her happy. 

What she loves via @LetmeStart

“I love gold”
“I love my friends”
“I wish I had flowers”
“I love cold water”
“I love movies”

She wants to be a better speller, a better writer, a better reader, and the first thing that comes to her to write down is the love she has for so many people and things around her.

The things she’d love to experience.

The things she loves about herself.

More things she loves by @LetMeStart

“I wish I can take a slime bath”
“I am weird”

I had been worried that my spritely, emotional, thoughtful girl was hiding her sad behind lock and key.

But the feelings that live in the surface of her heart and mind are those of love and joy, appreciation of the small things, and hope to experience new things.

So not only did I learn the magnitude of happiness that she is filled with, my own increased exponentially with the simple turn of a key.

Edited to add: My daughter knows about this article, approves of the photos, and keeps asking what nice things people said about her spelling. 

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  1. Mel says

    Your daughter might think its cool right now that her diary is online….but in a few years, she will realize that it was a horrible breach of trust. It’s one thing to snoop a little (I know my mom snooped in mine I’m sure!), but unless there is anything in her diaries that are of concern?? Leave it be.

    She will one day get rather PISSED and EMBARRASSED if you bring up a subject that she wrote about. Trust me on this one.

    Make this the last time you share this. Not everyone thinks journal writing is about angst and sharing this was unnecessary.

    • says

      I appreciate your opinion – really.
      Rest assured, this is the one and only time I’m sharing something like this. And while I understand that “not everyone” sees diaries & journals as a place of sadness, many, many people who had abusive childhoods do. I’ve had quite a few people who have been through that and appreciated this lesson send me private messages saying so. I had to learn it, and I knew I wasn’t the only one.

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