Sunday, December 19, 2010

letters to W

My husband bought me a journal for Hannukah and I was at a loss with what to write. I have a journal I already write in, and I'm not ready to move on yet (still some pages left). I have this forum where I'm writing and thinking and processing stuff. So did I need a new journal?

My solution: I started a journal of letters to my son, and I intend to give it to him on his 18th birthday when he's officially ready to leave the nest. I wrote the first one--six pages of handwritten single-spaced text--and I'm really excited about it. My only concern is whether an 18 year old boy will actually appreciate this journal. A girl, yes, I can see her understanding and loving it. But I don't think I know any boys of that age who would respond well. I'm hoping, though, that W will be a slightly different kind of boy. That he'll understand and care for emotions in a way that a "normal" 18 year old boy will not.

As I write this, however, I see exactly how much I'm projecting onto W already. I see myself scripting who he is, and even though he's only one year old, I know that he is fully himself. He's already broken out of any scripts I might have had for his babyhood. So who am I to guess what he'll be like at 18?

The upshot is that I'm going to keep my Letters to W book going, writing in it every now and then when the mood strikes and on big occasions, like birthdays, starting kindergarten, his Bar Mitzvah. And if he gets it when he's 18, fine. If not, my only hope will be that he keeps it in a safe place and when he's ready for it, perhaps when I've passed (please, universe, at a ripe old age that allows me to see W grow up!), or maybe when he contemplates having children of his own. Or, perhaps his partner will appreciate it. I would love to read a series of letters between my husband and his mother, but in reality, they do not have a relationship that would bear out such letters. Believe me, that's true. She's not very emotionally connected to anyone, and maybe that's part of my goal, too--I'd like to offer as many models as I can for what love looks like. My Mom wrote a diary of my first few years and I have absolutely loved reading over it. She wrote little things, such as that I liked crawling into small places (under tables, in cabinets), and that's the kind of detail that might have gotten lost. I certainly don't remember these activities, but it makes sense that even as a baby I loved feeling cozy and secure (still do). When I first read about it, in fact, I assumed that all babies must do that and it wasn't special, but W *never* crawls under tables. He's an out-in-the-open kind of kid. Interesting.


  1. Here from ICLW. This is a lovely idea! I'm sure he will really appreciate this (one day).

  2. I love that you're keeping the journal of letters. My husband and I started a tradition with Zachary's first birthday of each writing a letter to him every year. I think that I will probably do additional letters at various times, but there will always be at least that one each year from each of us. I posted them on his blog and also have printed copies put aside with his first birthday card.

    I know it might be different for boys, but I really do believe that there will be a day when these are cherished momentos. I have a book that I received from my grandmother for my HS graduation with words of wisdom and a handwritten note in the back, and I cling to that book.