My father sent me a framed picture he came across of my mother in her senior year of high school. Looking at that photo a bittersweet melancholy fell over me. She was so young with that spark of hopeful anticipation in her eyes. She had her whole life in front of her. Little did she know, she had already lived almost half of her life. Little did she know, a disease would so drastically ravage her body and mind her children would never get to meet that woman in the photo. At her funeral, I sat and listened to people talk about a vibrant, head-strong woman I didn’t know.
My mother didn’t get to see me graduate from college. She was not there to tell me how proud she was when I won my Emmys. I will not have the opportunity to ask her what she did for her something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue when I get married. If I have kids, they will never be held by their grandmother. However, these are not the things that brought about the melancholy while looking at her picture. It was really much simpler than that. The melancholy was caused by the fact that I don’t know my mother’s voice. I don’t mean the actual sound of her voice, but her personality. Was she sarcastic, was she witty, was she a straight shooter? What were her dreams and aspirations for herself? For me?
So to the mothers and fathers out there I have a request. Write your children a letter. Not on the computer, but by hand. Write them a letter. Tell them that you love them. Tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them of your hopes and aspirations for their success and happiness. Tell them of your hopes and aspirations for your own success and happiness. Tell them of your dreams. If you haven’t achieved them yet, tell them that, but you’re working toward them. Tell them your favorite music, movies, sports, board games. Tell them the story of the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. Tell them of the bravest thing you’ve ever done. Tell them a joke. Tell them of the things that are important to you. It doesn’t matter what you tell them, just let them see your personality. Let them see you.
I pray that the letter will never be needed. That it will go unread tucked away and forgotten in some drawer. But life is unexpected and sometimes all too short. Give your children the opportunity to know you, whether through your actions or through your words. Write your children a letter. I wager it will turn into one of their most prized possessions. Even if it doesn’t get to their hands until after you pass away peacefully in your sleep at the age of 100.