Letters To My Sons

September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Years ago, when I was a focused, organized mom who read parenting books and magazines and documented her baby boy’s every move, I came up with the idea that I would write my son a letter that I would give to him on his 18th birthday.  The letter would be a running editorial of his milestones, but also highlights of his budding personality and active, young life.  At the time, I only had one child but had planned to write a letter for each of my children, should we have more.

I started writing the initial letter when my first son was two.  I described his birth, still vividly etched in my mind thanks to a 20-hour labor and a c-section delivery.  I wrote about our “mommy and me” classes, his love of trains, his nicknames, his babysitter, and anything else that I thought he should know about.  I’d write for an hour or two, double save it on my computer and a CD-ROM. I’d tell myself that I’d continue writing the letter in a few months.

Well, a few months passed and Dude #2 was born.  He was not a sleeper like my first-born so for the first six months of his life, I was in a constant haze.  I forgot about the letter-writing objective altogether until one day, when I was finally lucid again, I remembered what I had started.  By this time, Big Dude was three and a half and Dude #2 was now one.

One day during nap time (ahh, those precious naps!), I was determined to keep going with the letter as well as start a second one for Dude #2.  I churned out some more paragraphs, but I noticed that my recollections of their milestones were becoming fuzzier.  I referred back to their baby books, which were somewhat helpful, but I wanted to write about more than just their first steps and first words.  I wanted them to really be able to picture their younger selves, both physically as well as emotionally.  I’m not sure why this task was important to me, other than to be able to give them a gift that they would hopefully cherish forever and that no one else could give them.  I simply thought it would be a really cool thing to do.

When I finished that round of writing, I promised myself I wouldn’t wait so long between updating the letters.  However, usually six months to a year would pass before I went back to them.  And then Dude #3 was born.  By this time, Big Dude was six and Middle Dude was nearly four.  Don’t worry, I didn’t throw in the towel just because I popped out another kid.  And believe it or not, we still took plenty of photographs of Little Dude, too. Despite his 3rd child status, he is documented in photos and yes, I started a letter to him too.

But, without giving you exactly how much time has passed, let’s just say it’s now been YEARS since I’ve updated those letters.  I’m not giving up, though.  I’ve been thinking about the letters a lot lately, probably because I’ve started this blog and I’m writing about the boys (albeit with their code names) all the time.  Which made me realize I’ve got to get back to writing TO them, and not just ABOUT them.

I think the letters have also been weighing on me because Little Dude’s 9th birthday is approaching.  That means that my deadlines are looming closer; I have nine years left to work on Little Dude’s letter and a mere five and three years left for my other two dudes. Time to open those carefully saved files and start tapping away on that keyboard again.  And it’s also time to dig deep into my brain to try to remember the important stuff from the past, umm, couple of years.  I think the hardest part of this exercise, besides the remembering part, is deciding what to include.

Do I remind them of their challenges and heartache or do I only write about the happy stuff?  I remember reading somewhere that most people don’t remember anything before the age of three.  And, many of our other childhood memories are of scary or traumatic events.  For instance, these are some of my childhood flashbacks: a bloody nose, vomiting on the playground, an ice storm, a giant snowstorm, seeing a man bleeding from his head on the street, a terrible sunburn on the back of my legs, etc.  See what I mean?  I only vaguely remember one of my earlier birthday parties, which was fun and all, but I have a major blank space for all the happy stuff before age 10 or so.  And, I know I had a really happy childhood.  I just can’t remember any of the details.  So, I’m trying to fill in all the gleeful times in for my own kids.  I guess I can assume they’ll remember all the sad and gloomy stuff on their own.

The letters are mostly upbeat, as I quickly glaze over those horrendous middle school years and that summer at camp when it rained non-stop.  But, I do also want them to know about the time they may have struggled in 4th grade with writing assignments but were able to overcome the challenge with hard work (and a few tears).  Or the time one of them so desperately wanted to swing from the trapeze at Club Med and finally climbed up that skinny, tall ladder to do so.  I want them to know that they are resilient, strong, and courageous.  They already know how much I love them.  The letters will just remind them how much they should love themselves, too.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie September 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

You know it is funny, but I just recently starting to re-write my pregnancy journal from my first and wanted her to know all about when I was pregnant with her (She is 3 years old and I am just starting this now!). And plan on doing this for my second too, but like you said time does have a way of getting completely away from us. I think your letter writing to them though is awesome idea and such a wonderful thing for your boys to look back on. Bravo and believe me I know how hard it is to find a free moment to do stuff like this.


ohboymom September 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Yes, you are right about the time. I’m hoping that by posting about the letters, I will now be motivated to get back to them and write! Thanks for your comment and good luck with your pregnancy journal. It sounds like a wonderful project too.


Janine Huldie September 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thank you for saying that about my pregnancy journal, also for following me back and for voting in my poll :)


Roshni September 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I love that you’re writing them a letter each! I’m sure that will be something they will treasure and maybe read it out to their kids!! I’m hoping this blog of mine will work in that respect, although I haven’t documented any of their infant days in it!


ohboymom September 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

You make a good point about the blog. Oddly enough, I never thought of it that way but you’re absolutely right about us documenting. We can always refer back to those infant days and write about them at any time. Thanks for your comment!


LisaD September 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I had no idea that you were writing those letters. That’s awesome. I actually started to tear up reading what you wrote. I wish I had done something like that. I think I started baby books for the first two, but not for the third and definitely never finished them. I guess I could start now. It’s never too late, but where to find the time!


ohboymom September 25, 2012 at 2:57 am

You’re right, it’s never too late but yeah, it’s that small matter of never finding the time. Maybe when we’re retired and living in Florida we’ll finish our books and letters to our kids..:)


Julia September 25, 2012 at 1:24 am

Great ending! That really sums it all up. Now about that big box of photos waiting for me to start digitizing them…


ohboymom September 25, 2012 at 2:55 am

Yup, I’ve got the box of photos too! Some day….


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