Before she was born, CycleGuy and I each wrote a letter to our daughter. We knew our baby would be a girl and we knew her name. I wanted to write letters to my daughter about what I was, we were, feeling and the hopes and dreams and all that mushy stuff pregnant women think of before they give birth. I told him he should do the same. And being the compliant husband of a hormonally crazy, pregnant wife he dutifully complied.
She would be our first, and only child. I wanted to tell her so many things. I wanted her to know how much she was loved and what I wanted for her even before she was born. The letters are in our safe, to be given to her at her Bat Mitzvah when she is 13. Sometimes I wonder if maybe we should wait. Possibly, it just depends. But on the envelope it says it’s for her Bat Mitzvah.
Picking that date was not as arbitrary as it may seem. Our thinking was that if any thing were to happen to either of us we didn’t want BabyGirl to have the letters before she would be mature enough to deal with its contents. Also, we didn’t want to wait too long and have her ask questions no one would be able to answer. Being a teen is hard enough. Being a teen with question should your parent or parent be gone and no one to answer them could be devastating. I don’t want that for her. I don’t want that for me.
After BabyGirl was born I started keeping a journal for her as well. There were so many things I wanted to tell her and share with her and let her know that I knew if I had to wait decades I’d possibly forget. Also, the ‘what if’ existed in the back of my mind. It’s a whole someday thing. Someday I’ll be able to tell her all this stuff. I would save all the thoughts and feelings and information for someday. When she’s old enough. When she’s mature enough. When she wants to listen. When I’m not boring. When she’s not embarrassed of me in public. And so on.
There’s always stuff we’re “saving for someday”. So I’ve created these journals, not only chronicling her life but our life as a family. There are big gaps within the past few years as I’ve struggled with our family’s experience with what hell probably would be like. I couldn’t write about it. Or at least, I couldn’t write about a lot of it. I’m saving it for when I can tell her that it turned out OK.
And I think I’m at that point. I can continue writing to my daughter, privately. Sharing with her what her life is like from my perspective. I can tell her about people and places. Now that she can journal, I can encourage her to document these things herself so years from now she’ll have a bigger picture of what she and I saw.
As many of you know, my mom passed away almost 20 years ago. I have so many questions. And with those questions I have I’m trying to answer them for my daughter incase she has the same ones. I know that journaling for yourself is important, but I hate doing that. But this, I love. I truly love that I can talk to my daughter so one day when she’s grown up and has a family of her own she can fill in the blanks.
Have you written letters to your children for them to open later in life? What do you want your child(ren) to know? If you could write a letter today, what would it say?