Driving home from a weekend visit with my mom, I had time to think – and my thoughts brought me back to her letters. I always loved getting letters from my mom during summer camp, and when I was away at college. At that time, we had to spring for a stamp – or a long distance phone call – in order to keep in touch. And we had to wait for a reply. She wrote wonderful letters – handwriting was trendy then. And her handwriting was comforting. I could always tell that she’d carefully read my letters – she gave me updates from home, thoughtfully answered all my questions or referred to things I’d told her about, and asked related questions. During college, we had phone “dates” scheduled twice each week – and with only shared phones in common areas my first year, we still made it happen.
I happen to work at the overnight camp my children attend. There are letter writing days, so they still need to send me a letter – but sometimes it says only “Dear Mom, it’s letter writing day. Camp is fun. Love you.” Sometimes there’s a little more, about playing baseball or in a band…I don’t actually get to see what they’re doing all day, but I am there. I also do my best to write them letters with relevant questions and some interesting info. My husband tells them sports scores and updates, among other things. I want them to know our handwriting, perhaps to seek comfort in that the way I did (and frankly still do!) with my mom’s.
Our older son will be off to college next fall (am I really saying that?!). I love that we can connect so easily with texts, but I also want to be sure he has his space to grow and explore; a little extra time to write or reply may give him the desire to share more so I can really get to know him as he becomes an adult. I hope he’ll enjoy an actual phone call now and then and will appreciate my handwritten letters. I’ll be thrilled to get one from him. His handwriting is hard to read at times, but it belongs to him and I love it.
Staying in touch is definitely different now. It’s so much easier – with email, texting, and especially social media – to have immediate contact with many more people for much less expense. But I hope my children will find “letters from mom” to be something they look forward to, because I’ll be sure to write.