Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pen to Paper Challenge...A Letter to My Daughter.

I'm a Pearista and this month Christy from Pear Tree Greetings challenged us to put pen to paper and send cards to people.  She sent us cards with envelopes and then smaller cards and envelopes we could include so our recipient could write back.   It seems to be a lost art form these days.   I remember growing up how excited I'd be to get a letter or a card in the mail.   Now it seems that communication is mostly with email or text messages or messages left on answering machines.   But nothing can replace a heartfelt handwritten  note.  Sometimes it's easier to write what we feel than to say it out loud.  We can reword it and rethink it until we get it just right.   It gives us time to put the words down exactly how we want them.

So I'd been thinking over the last few weeks about who I could send my cards to.   I had a few people in mind and thought I knew who my first one was going to.   But this past week as I helped my eldest child finish shopping and packing to return to college, I changed my mind and the choice became clear.   I would put pen to paper and write my daughter a note.

I know all parents love their children unconditionally, or at least I hope so, and I know we're all guilty of bragging a bit too much on occasion, but my daughter really is a wonderful child.   She's always been "exuberant" as our pediatrician called it, and full of energy and curiosity.  She had a teacher in the third grade who once told me if it wasn't for my daughter some days she would wonder why she was teaching.   The teacher told me she'd look around the room and all the kids would be doodling or leaning on their elbows half asleep, but there would be my daughter waving her hand excitedly because she knew the answer or paying rapt attention to every word the teacher said.  My daughter approached all of life like that.   She always wanted to learn, not only in school, but to do karate and dance, or play the piano and cello, or to play softball and basketball and soccer.  She couldn't suck enough out of life or fast enough.

She also never got into trouble or caused me any worry.   I've had people tell me they need an affidavit proving she was so good, or saying it must be nice to live in the land of unicorns and constant rainbows.  Or others imply I must have my head in the sand because she was probably being a wild teen and I was just too clueless to know.   I would just smile at them and know they were wrong.   She had a large group of friends who were all just like her.   Scrubbed face kids with beaming smiles and impeccable manners.   Kids who were the leaders and most outstanding students in a very large high school.  I never worried when she went out with them that they'd be drinking or doing drugs.   They just weren't those kids.

Now does that mean she never annoyed me?   Of course not!  She was a teen girl and every person who has had one knows the fear those two words can strike in the heart of a parent.   There were tears, and shrieking and slamming doors on occasion.   But those pale in comparison to a child who made good grades, played the cello beautifully and made her parents proud.

She has continued being a wonderful child in college.   She's in honors biochemistry, been selected to attend leadership conferences and continues in the orchestra in college.  She did an internship this past summer in Washington DC and attended meetings at the State Dept, Dept of Agriculture and Dept of Energy.   She referred to it as her job, but I referred to it as her "adventure".     She saw all the monuments and museums, attended concerts at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and watched the fireworks over the Potomac.   Once again she managed to squeeze every bit out of life in those 8 weeks.

So as she returns to college, I'm putting my pen to paper to write her a note for her first week of school.   I want to thank her for the joy she brought me watching her grow from an exuberant child to an exuberant young adult.   I want to thank her for the pride I felt watching her fervently bow her cello with utter love and devotion to the instrument these past 10 years.   I want to thank her for being such an easy child to raise and one that any parent would be proud to have.    I want to wish her luck as she returns to  college and continues on the path to becoming a successful and independent woman.  And of course I want to tell her that I love her.  That is what my pen says as I put it to paper.

Do you have individuals who have brightened your life?   Or people who have offered a hand when you were at a low point?  Or perhaps a long lost friend who used to make you laugh so hard?   I challenge you to put pen to paper and let them know how they've enriched your life.   I challenge you to reconnect with them.

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