(by my husband, Rob. I took the week off)
On a business trip to Wisconsin in 2003, I had a lunch meeting with a regular contact, Nancy, at a small town lunch counter. Our conversations over the years almost always gravitated toward our kids at some point and this time was no exception. But this time in particular stands out in my mind four times a year now. With a thick Brooklyn accent that defied her 13 years in Packerland, Nancy described to me how she would write a letter to each of her boys every year on their birthday.
In these letters she would recount milestones they achieved, special memories, joys, sorrows and her wishes for their lives. Each letter is unique and deeply personal. She kept the letters stashed away only to be given to them after she has passed away. It struck me as a beautiful way to share with a person how much joy they brought into your life. Upon my return home I started my first letter. My oldest was already five so I had a lot of catching up to do. I recently re-read that first letter for the umpteenth time and the same wave of emotion still consumes me just as wholly now as it did then.
I try to use these letters not just as isolated moments in time but as a reminder to live so that my children know how much they mean to me on a regular basis. I have done a lot of growing through my children and these letters will chronicle my journey with them. I have yet to decide if I will wait until I am gone to release the letters—perhaps just before they go off to college. But they will know they are my great joy and they are loved.