Writing the letters was harder than I thought. For one, I couldn’t do it without crying. I can barely write this without crying…it may just be me. It conjured up memories of their whole life thus far. I wanted to communicate to them about me, but I found myself writing more about them. How proud I was of them, what was going on in their lives at this point in time, what they liked and disliked. I did spend some time discussing my present state of mind (in a very positive light). I talked about mom dying recently, about my search for new meaning after quitting a job and staying home, and about what I love doing with them as a family.
I was conscious that when they read this they would be much more mature than they are now (one can only hope!) It was especially difficult writing to my 3 year old and not “writing down” to her. I found I would use the term mommy and daddy – but not with the older two. At first I tried to correct this and write as though she was already 43. Then I decided that part of who I am at this age is who they are, and “hearing” my voice to them in 2013 would help them understand me as much as the words I wrote in that letter.
I kept the letters all to 2 pages handwritten. I thought it important that they be the same length. God knows I don’t want to conjure up some long buried sibling rivalry because one got a longer letter than the other! I also put with each letter a copy of the original blog post so they could understand my motive without me having to rewrite it 3 times.
I wanted the letters to be handwritten because 1) I do it so infrequently these days that there may not be any record of my handwriting in another 40 years! And 2) I LOVE seeing my ancestors’ handwriting. It alone can conjure up such wonderful memories.
I encourage everyone to try this out. Now my kids don’t know I’ve done this. Right now, they would probably think it was just weird. I certainly anticipate still being around (as in alive) when they get to read them, but either way I know it will probably be emotional for both of us when they do get around to opening those letters. Also, I may mention this in my will so if I end up with Alzheimer’s they aren’t off the hook!
Copyright (c) 2013, Family at Your Fingertips, Jodi Bash