My kids’ memory folders (ah, how cute they were …)
For the past two years, I’ve been berating myself for not keeping up with a commitment I made to myself when each of my babies was born. I had diligently written letters to each child – a few during their first years of life, and one for each birthday that followed. I’d managed it well until the past couple of years but since then, each time I tried to write, the words wouldn’t come out. I couldn’t work out why.
The letter writing seemed important to me. I wanted to share the memories, special moments and funny little sayings, as well as the challenges we had faced. I had a few reasons for this.
- To keep a record (of course), and because I like to write.
- I thought it would be a lovely gift to give each of them on their eighteenth birthday – a record of their childhood.
- From a practical sense, it could be handy to know some of the key development steps which, if I wasn’t there to tell them about, they might not know about (I had discovered this first hand as a result of a mother-in-law who was already in the early stages of dementia when I met her). Yes, as the practical pessimist, I wanted to ensure there was lots for them in the event that I wasn’t around (nothing like preventative planning!)
All good reasons – so why couldn’t I write the letters? (although I can ramble a bit, it’s not like they are massive documents, for heavens sakes). Today I realised why. There was another reason, bubbling behind in the background, which tinged the writing with a sense of sadness and panic. Which wasn’t pleasant – and therefore to be avoided. I was writing not only in case I might not be around – incapacitated or dead – but even more so, because I was worried about how I would be leaving them.
I didn’t fear AS MUCH the idea of being separated as much as I did the idea that they might not have the knowledge of how fully, how deeply, how completely they are loved. I feared that they would be so emotionally scarred without that deep knowledge that it would cause major long term irreversible impacts. This became clear to me when I read The Thud ‘s blog post about her own letter writing / video recording for her child.
When I was reading this post, I suddenly realised that I don’t have this fear this anymore. I KNOW that my children know that they are fully loved by both my husband and me. I see it in the way they respond and interact with us, in the way they come to us to share problems and tales of happiness. And I know, as they are getting older, that they are developing a more solid foundation every day.
I now understand why I no longer feel the panicked pressure to write, to reinforce, to ground them through my letters as I do that more in my day to day activities. And that is such a great thing to realise. Something that seemed a negative has been revealed to me as a really positive forward step, and I am rejoicing in that now!
My letter writing can now serve a different, more joyful purpose. I’m so happy I just had to write this post as a means of sharing my insight, which I hope somehow might be a great insight for others. And I can’t wait to start my catch up writing, which is already underway. Yay!
Letting go of both guilt, plus fear – I cannot believe how liberating this feels!
Have you recently experienced the relief of a fear that no longer has any impact?