Friday, January 8, 2010

Family Writing

Thanks to a link posted on facebook by my friend Anais of Path to Freedom, I have spent the day perusing The Girlhood Home Companion magazine website and waiting for my digital copy to arrive in my e-mail box.
I'm feeling particularly drawn to the idea of Family Writing, where members of the family record stories from their daily life for future generations. Today I started with a letter to my oldest daughter. It's not something I plan to give to her today or even next year. At the moment I think it would be good to pull together a collection of these letters for each kid for their graduation day or wedding day.
Dear Cheyenne,
It's 3:55 in the afternoon and I am waiting for you to come home from school. Your Dad went to pick up Bella from St John's and is stopping at the bus stop to drive you home. It's cold today, single digits with below zero windchills and I am planning to have tea with you and your sister in a few minutes. I think I'll heat the water in my Grandma Rosemarie's teakettle. I'm feeling nostalgic today.
I've spent the afternoon planning a trip for you, Bella and James to finally meet your Grandpa Phil. It came to me today, I think from the Holy Spirit, that it is time for you to meet your father's family. Further confirmation that this message was, indeed, divine came this afternoon when your father called your Grandma Elizabeth, who we have been somewhat estranged from for a few years, and received an invitation to Indiana this summer for a family reunion, expenses paid. I think you'll like Grandpa Phil. He's a real character. He's retired from farming and construction and taken up prospecting. He gets as excited about geology as your Dad does about electricity.
I worry lately that we are being too hard on you. You are my oldest kid, so we are always figuring these things out together. I apologize for all the mistakes I have made and will undoubtedly continue to make as a parent. Know that even when I discipline it is out of love.
You are such an amazing kid. Much better than I was at your age. You are smart, creative, outgoing and inquisitive. I just love that about you. You are nearly 6 years old now and on the threshold of being able to do so many fun and interesting things. I'm so excited by the possibilities I am afraid I may push you to do too much. It's just such a fascinating and interesting world out there and I am excited to introduce you to it.
The first five years of a child's life are focused inward towards the home, towards nurturing and safety. From then on, it seems to me, the focus is on ever greater levels of independence. I won't lie. I think as a parent my strengths lie more in the second stage. Like you I am very extroverted. I'm a person who enjoys being out in the world meeting new people and doing new and exciting things.
This week your new obsession is with the human body. In fact, I'm not entirely sure I haven't accidentally sent you to medical school instead of Kindergarten. Everyday you come home telling me some new fact, for example, that there are 206 bones in the adult human body. Today you learned about muscles. I asked you yesterday if you wanted to be a doctor, fascinated as you are by human anatomy. No. You'd like to be a cake decorator. A cake decorator well versed in human anatomy and Latin. You have no idea how cool I think that is.
Anyway, you are home now. Your Daddy is dishing up ice cream (only Daddy would think of ice cream in this weather) and it's time to put the kettle on. I love you Miss Monkey. Never forget that.


  1. Love this letter to your oldest daughter, and I'm very intrigued to check out the online magazine. A big thank you for passing along the link!

  2. Your daughter sounds SO awesome. Obsessed with anatomy she'll be a cake doctor;)
    I started a journal for each of my kids before they were born. They're really just letters to them, but I note what they're up to and into and doing with each new entry. I made a resolution to write in each boys' journal at least ONCE a month to keep them more current.

  3. Thanks guys! She is a cool kid. I like the name Cake Doctor. It would be a good one for the bakery she and Bella told me they plan to open some day. I'll pass that idea along.