I am a words person. Always have been. I love cards, and notes, texts and e-mails. And I save them. Yup… every note Scott ever passed me in high school, every birthday card, Valentine card, anniversary card… I have them all in a box.
So, it should come as no surprise, that when my kids start writing, I started hoarding those precious words as well. I know can’t save them all, but I do try to save the “significant ones”. Letters to their baby brother when he was still in my belly, family portraits drawn in crayon of stick figures, Mothers Day cards….I have a file in my filing cabinet as well as a few envelopes and shoe boxes stuffed with them.
Recently, one of my children has developed a love of words as well. Now that she’s growing in her reading and her phonics, I am finding she’s taken to the pencil and paper in a manner that surprised me.
Last month, I found a note taped to her door. It was written after she had been sent to her room for an outburst and it explained how she doesn’t always hate me but sometimes she does. As soon as I found it, I knew it had to go in my box of keepsakes.
Odd, I know. But this is my box of keepsakes and I found the note significant for many reasons. 1. She used her words to express herself (this is something we’ve been working on for awhile. 2. The teacher in me was proud of the good use of phonics.
Truthfully, I know she doesn’t hate me. And truthfully, I found the fact that she told me, “I don’t hate you all the time just some of the time” to be beautifully honest.
(I didn’t read it like that at first, but when I reread it I realized it was an explanation for the hurtful outburst she had uttered downstairs). And I pray that she can always be that honest with me. As long as it’s respectful. I don’t want my daughter to tell me what she thinks I want to hear. I want her to feel comfortable to tell me what she is really thinking and feeling. I want our lines of communication to be always open.
So, after tucking the note away in a drawer to save, I went and spoke with her about what she was feeling.
I’ve found a few other notes taped to her door since then, which have prompted some good discussions.
But, this week, was my favorite. This week she decided to start writing me notes in a notebook. And we’ve been passing it back and forth at night. When I come up to bed, I have been delighted to find her little book waiting at the top of the stairs… filled with adorable phonetic writing, pictures and questions and observations on life. I eagerly write her back and place the book by her pillow. This note passing has gone back and forth for a few days now and her sister has also followed her example. So, I’ve been treated with 2 notebooks at the top of the stairs each night this week.
I love LOVE this little glimpse into their minds and hearts. And I pray this dialogue continues. Seems like a safe place to ask questions and get answers. What a beautiful way to grow our relationships with some good old fashioned letter writing. AND to top it off, we’re working on reading, writing, and spelling just as an added bonus! The sentimentalist in me is thrilled that it is all being documented in a note book as well, because you better believe these books will be tucked away in my box of sentimental things when we’re finished.
I don’t know how long this will last. I’d love to envision it going on for days/weeks/months… but they could lose interest tonight. I vow to answer as many as they write me though and I try to respond with some questions to keep the dialogue going. And for now, I am treasuring, truly treasuring these gifts of words and praying for a lifetime of open communication.