First, my big confession is that, in reality, I am a horrible scrapbooker.  I have such lofty intentions to keep them for my children.  I love the idea of books filled with clippings, pictures, memorabilia, little notes on funny or endearing things they said or did, records of their first smile, word, tooth or step.  All beautifully decorated and bound.  And I have all these things in bits and pieces in a large box just waiting for me to get it together enough to actually do it.  But alas, it just does not come easy to me.  But letter writing does.   

photo by lepiaf.geo
photo by lepiaf.geo

My husband and I have written letters to each other every New Year’s eve since we first met.  We seal them up and keep them for the following year– when we read last year’s letter and write the new letter to be sealed.  To be sure, these are not award winning letters.  We don’t try to be overly witty or sentimental or stress over the perfect flow or wording.  We just write what’s on our hearts, some thoughts about the past year, some dreams of the upcoming year..sometimes we include a prediction or two.  Light, sincere and fun.  That is what keeps us doing it.

This year we are adding another letter tradition for our children.  For Valentine’s Day we will be writing them a letter.  Because they are very young, and because we intend to give this as a gift to them when they are older, we’ll write the letter and then keep it in a special book.  I bought two small scrapbooks, with pages that will fit the size of a standard envelope.   I’ve glued an envelope, face down so the letter can go in and be sealed on the first page.  And I’ve also indicated the date and year on this page.  Maybe I’ll embellish later, maybe not.  I purposely tried to keep this simple so I wouldn’t get intimidated.

While, I am sure some years we will want to write a letter free-form, I also brainstormed some topics that we can pick from that I think would be very special to have chronicled.  Here are some of my ideas:

  • Describe how your pregnancy went.  Any cravings, dreams, aches and pains?  Did they move a lot, hiccup, respond to someones voice in the room?  Were you working or at home?  Did other siblings know of your coming?  How did you prepare for their debut?
  • Describe the details of the day they were born
  • Talk about who they take after. Describe their features, expressions, personality– let them know who in their family shares that (“your toes look just like Aunt Cat’s”).
  • The story of how they were named (even if its ‘just a name we liked’).  What were other names you considered?  Did you and your husband have a hard time choosing or agreeing?  Did you know for sure before they were born or did you wait to hold them in order to confirm the name? Are they named after someone special?
  • “If I had to guess, you will grow up to be…”
  • This is my prayer for you
  • “What I Know is True”- What values and beliefs you hold true and dear that you want to pass on
  • “This is what life was like when you were young” (describe what the world is like now- how we travel, where you live, what you do for a living, state of world affairs, who you spend time with, what you do for fun) 
  • The man called your Daddy/The woman called your Mommy.  Consider describing your spouse in a letter for your children.

Some of these letters may be very short and sweet.  Some may go on for a few pages.  Don’t worry about the details, your handwriting, your spelling.  Your children will be so grateful for this treasure of YOU– and your love and honesty will be the only things shining through.

Do you do anything special to give to your children when they are grown?  What other letter topics do you think would be fun to write?