Guest columnist Lisa Sepulveda: Catching Lightning In A Bottle

 

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Lisa Sepulveda lives in Montebello, New York with her daughters Sara and Megan and her high school sweetheart, Andrew. She is president of global consumer marketing at the public relations agency Weber Shandwick.

Dear Sara and Megan,

“Tell me a story,” my teens still ask, on occasion. Luckily, I’ve kept journals for them since they made their debuts.

“The Sara Chronicles” took shape when the “Baby’s First Year” calendar was complete and I thought, Now what? How will I capture all of those amazing firsts and priceless declarations yet to come?

I’ve always yearned to have all of my questions answered, and treasure the stories of my early days. But my mom was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 17, and she lost her battle at the very young age of 41, when I was just 19. Being a typical teen and caring more about my next social plan, I had no idea then that I should have collected her stories, and before I knew it, it was too late. My darling father did the best he could to recount the memories of our lives together, but, in truth, no one tells a story quite like a mom. Moms share details, moms add color, moms give context. My mom told an amazing story.

 

My mother’s passing inspired me to capture the stories for Sara, now 16, and Megan, 15. And ironically, last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer on my 47th birthday. I battled the disease, received the necessary treatment, stayed on a positive course and am proud to say that I am just fine and more motivated than ever to collect these stories.

In my first entry in “The Sara Chronicles back in 1996,” I vowed to answer all of her questions, up until the point when I will no longer be here to help them stitch together their past. When Meg arrived on the scene in 1997, “Letters to Megan” sprung to life.

I’ve amassed three complete journals for each so far, all designed to help my daughters recall milestone moments (from winning a national dance competition to beating personal bests on the track), historical events in their lifetime (from the events surrounding 9/11 to Barack Obama’s election to president) and stories of their obsessions bordering on the ridiculous (the Sweet 16 in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the must-meet British boy band One Direction craze.)

I try to log entries as the “not to be missed moments” unfold. Almost always hand-written and often with watery eyes (mostly happy tears) I share the moments, with detail and emotion and imagine my mother telling me the stories of my childhood. Pictures illustrate the stories and often accompany my entries, all painting a picture of the past.

All the stories belonging to Sara and Megan are collected, captured and saved in a steel box for maximum protection, with an intended delivery on their 21st birthdays. With any luck, they’ll enjoy reading the stories as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

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One thought on “Guest columnist Lisa Sepulveda: Catching Lightning In A Bottle

  1. I loved your entry to "Letters to My Kids". Like you I have been writing letters to my children for a different reason. I was adopted and did not know any stories about my past until I found my birth parents a few years ago. I love how you named your letters the Sara and Megan Chronicles. You are obviously a strong woman and an amazing mother. What an inspiration and role model you are for your beautiful girls. Be well and God bless you and your family!

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