I love reading blogs and one of the things I have seen crop up a few times on parent bloggers pages are letters to their children. These are often written annually, but also at important milestones such as first steps etc. The letters are always lovely and touching and record such special memories.
I had intended each year to do the same for Daniel, but it just never really happened. I think I was thinking about it too much. Each time I would sit down at the computer I’d find myself over analysing what I was writing, and not really writing anything at all. I think I managed one letter to him (I’ve not published this… it was never intended to be published).
Now that Emma is here I want to be able to remember even the basic things such as the ages at which both her and Daniel did things such as walking, talking, first teeth etc. It becomes harder when there are two small people to remember dates for – already I have to stop and think about their ages and birthdates. I also want something tangible for them should anything ever happen to me. I want them to know how I felt and what I thought as they reached their milestones.
I’m not really a sentimental person; I have a box which has various cards from my husband in and cards from birthdays etc. There is a box full of wedding cards and the such and we have memory boxes for each of the children that stores their hospital bands, special outfits, first shoes etc.
However, of all the things I have, one of the most precious things I have is a handwritten letter with photographs that my dad sent to his parents and brother when I was born (my dad was living in Manchester and his parents and younger brother in Cardiff). In an era before mobile phones and picture message, internet and email a handwritten letter and printed photographs was the way to communicate. Stark contrast to the era that Daniel and Emma are growing up in; after a phone call to both sets of parents I emailed and text a photograph. In modern times announcements are made by text message, facebook and email. Milestones are recorded in the virtual world.
What the letter my dad wrote conveys is the moment he sat down to write. It’s personal and it’s him. It doesn’t feel like the letter has been analysed, deleted and re-written. It’s a simple letter written on pages taken from a notebook. It’s a heartfelt letter written to share the news of the birth of his first child and his parents first Grandchild. How things have changed for my grandparents… the birth of Daniel, their first great grandchild was conveyed by text message and pictures sent the same day by email and video chat via factime a week later!
As well as this public blog I have a private family blog where I post pictures of our day to day activities. I love looking back on the pictures to see what we were doing and to look at just how much Daniel and Emma have grown. This is great, but I want something physical, like I have from my dad (which my Grandparents kindly gave to me around 8/9 years ago).
I have decided that I will handwrite Daniel and Emma a diary… I won’t be rigid in when I write in it, but they will sit there on the shelf for when the moment takes me or when I have a spare five minutes. It may be once a week, once a month or once a year. I don’t know. What I do know is that it will be from me.
|An excuse to go shopping for notebooks|
I have already written the first entries for both Daniel and Emma, and it feels so much more natural and ‘me’; much more so than a word processed, electronic version. I can cross out my writing, but it will still sound like me. I found when I was typing the letters, as I did initially for Daniel I was being much more formal, and going back to edit things so they sounded ‘right’. The result was that they didn’t really sound like me, just a much more formal and rigid me and it was becoming a chore rather than a moment to sit, reflect and enjoy the memories these two little people are creating.
In Emma’s entry I even began to sign off with Sarah rather than mummy!
I hope that Daniel and Emma treasure these books in future years, however many there may be and whenever that time comes for them to be handed over. In the meantime I will enjoy looking out for notebooks to fill and taking time to record our lives together and their growing up.