A little while ago I read a post on a parenting group by a mum who writes a letter to each of her children every year on the eve of their birthdays. She writes about what they’ve done that year, special memories and little every day things, what they’ve enjoyed and maybe what they haven’t. When they grow up she will give them the letters, and they will have that lovely intimate record of their childhood forever.
I was struck by what a beautiful idea it was, and really wished that I’d thought to do the same myself. Then this morning I decided, better late than never, and went out to buy two pretty notebooks, one for each daughter. Starting from their 4th and 10th birthdays I too will write them a letter each year. I will also write some retrospective posts, perhaps their birth stories and some other significant memories.
In some ways my children will have many, many, many more recorded memories of their childhood than I do. So many photos on my phone, not to mention a blog I’ve been writing since Anna was only 3! However, there is a particular intimacy about pen on paper, and they will have far fewer examples of that. I have a letter my mum wrote to me when I was only 3 or 4 and she had to go into hospital for a couple of days. My granny and I wrote regularly to each other, basically from when I learned to write up to her death when I was in my late twenties. My first couple of terms at university, frighteningly in an age when email was still new and innovative, were immeasurably cheered by letters from home, even my teenage brother putting pen to paper for me. And my husband and I still have the often daily love letters we wrote each other during university vacations, which will no doubt cause our children intense embarrassment when they come across them at some point.
I hope that these little journals I’m going to write for my daughters will one day be as special for them as all those letters were to me.