Monday, October 20, 2008

"read this when"

An article in the Sunday Times yesterday reminded me of something on my 'to do' list of recent months. The article interviewed Angelina Jolie, supermom, actor, humanitarian and not to mention 'the sexiest woman alive' (yes, I feel like an underachiever!). It was her comment at the end that punctuated my thoughts "Oh, yeah. I can do some things. You wait. You'll find out. I'm capable." She was speaking, in her head to her son, who as an adolescent is completely oblivious to her utterly cool resumé. And did I mention her better half isn't bad on the eyes either?! Point is, every once in a while it strikes me that my daughter might not actually know me. That said, I suppose I've never really known my own parents, at least in the light they see themselves. I am always pleasantly surprised to unravel a new piece of their fiber that humanizes them and impossibly makes me appreciate them more. A cyclical phenomenon that's worth reflection.

I laughed a bit when I perused the paper over coffee glancing at my little gal hopping around like a frog, or cricket, or cat pretending to be a frog...and I wondered what she'd think of me one day. On my 'to do' list has been a letter, a 'read this when' note that demonstrates my wishes and guidance, my past, my humor, my experience, my ideas, my heart. Real Simple Family put out a tear-jerker of an issue last August doing just this. Notes penned for specific milestones; 'to be read on your wedding day', 'to be read the first time I disappoint you', 'to be read the first time your heart is broken', 'to be read when your own baby isn't sleeping through the night'. Loaded with the flawed wisdom of parenthood and purest of intentions, these insights are personally profound. Food for thought in this busy list-making mini-world we create for ourselves. Pause, put pen to paper and give it a go, to your child, to your parent and indirectly to your self.

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ~ Dostoyevsky

just found this here!


Cassie said...

Oh, Tyler! Thanks for this post! It makes me want to write more letters to my kids. I started my blog with that in mind. That I will have every year made into a book by blurb and someday I can give it to them as a journal of who I am and the journey I have taken. I have a book of poetry from my high school/college years that chronicles the first part of me, pre-mama. That was the way my life was poetry. Now I prefer prose for the most part. I'm thankful for your insight here and the reminder to write those notes.

Anonymous said...

I read that issue of Real Simple magazine and made a mental note to do the same. Thanks for the reminder. Imaging writing a letter to your children every day - amazing!

secretleaves said...

What a beautiful post, Tyler. And I'm not even a parent!


Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

Only today I found myself speaking with my 7yr old son as if he were my friend... a completely non-parent, completely conversational tone. And I saw him looking at me like he was looking at me for the first time. It was an amazing moment. But then he put his chocolate milk glass on the coffee table and it was back to business as usual!
I don't know if I'll write letters. I have my artwork, though.

Mrs.French said...

I need to do this...actually after reading this post I am not sure there is another choice...xxoo

pve design said...

I find that parents of yesterday's generation much more apt to do this sort of thing. I think this is a wonderful idea, like opening up pandora's box.
A treasure of things from a life that was lived.

Julia said...

Tyler, this post made me cry! What a beautiful idea. I remember thinking that I would write notes to my someday babies. I know that every step I take in seeing my parents as real, live, flawed humans, make me love them all the more. I know that "seeing" them has made it possible to be their close friends! It's wonderful!

Thank you for this post, thank you thank you!

raining sheep said...

Such a good post. I never 'knew' my parents until now that I am in my forties and their 'feelings' actually interest me. As children we do not have the same curiosity or need to know as when we are adults. The milestone letters are such a great idea...and yeah, I would cry too if I got something like that from my parents.