Monday, July 19, 2010

Handwritten Memories

The past few days I spent some time doing what has needed to be done for a good, long time - I organized the boxes of "mementos" I have accumulated over the years and even went through my old filing cabinet and dumped a bunch of files that I no longer need to keep. Ahhhhhh! It feels so good to have it all in one place, organized by container. Ahhhhh! I can barely stand the thought of going through it again to really organize it...

I have to admit it was fun to take a little stroll down memory lane, though. The little B's were thrilled to look at their baby books (which still need to be finished, of course), which they had never seen before. They were so funny to listen to as they looked at their pictures and asked me random questions about what they were seeeing. And I got rid of a bunch of junk, like all the Christmas cards I had saved. Can you believe I actually saved those? But I did - I had intentions of using the fronts of the cards for gift tags on Christmas presents, which I did do a few times over the years, but not nearly enough to warrant keeping all those old cards. So I saved the special ones and tossed all the rest. And my friend Nikki gave me the courage to get rid of all the crazy documents I've had in a filing cabinet for years upon years. From now on, I'm only keeping what I need, and the rest is getting shredded.

My mom contributed to the stack of boxes holding special things - when she moved back to Burns, she went through all her mementos, and gave what was mine to me. Boxes and boxes of it! I found my senior high school yearbook in there, and even my college yearbooks, one of which I was the Assistant Editor of. That was fun to see! I read a few of the articles I wrote in the college one, and looked at the pictures in the high school annual. It made me sad to look at the high school book, to tell you the truth... Everyone looks so happy in their senior pictures, and for some reason, I chose what I must have thought was a serious pose, but seeing it now, it just looks really sad. My friend Nikki, on the other hand, looked amazing! I love her senior picture.. If  I could live my high school years over again, I would do so many things differently! I wish I knew then what I know now, because unlike people who just say that for the sake of saying it, I really could have benefited from the skills I've picked up over the years. But that's another blog post for another day, perhaps.

I realized something as I was going through all the cards and letters and special papers - the handwritten word is powerful and wonderful. I'm so glad I saved all those things! While I did toss the high school announcements and old Christmas cards, I kept the other cards and letters I had saved over the years, and in this day and age of technology and email and texting, they are treasures! And it gave credence to my belief in handwritten thank you cards and birthday cards and notes for all occasions.

I made Brailey Shaye write somewhat elaborate (considering her age) thank you cards for both her birthday and her First Commuinon, this year. I helped her write them, and then she copied them onto a card and we corrected most of them for spelling errors. I make Britt do the same thing on a different level, but as the years go by, I am going to expect the same level of work from him as I do from Brailey. My hope is that it will instill in them the importance of not only thanking people, but thanking them in a heartfelt way that truly expresses their gratitude. There is nothing more irritating to me than receiving a thank you card that say, "Thank you for the gift." Really? Are you kidding me?! I would rather not be thanked at all, frankly. If it isn't from the heart, then I'm not interested.

Allison reinforced this concept for me with the beautiful cards she gave to each of my B's for her wedding last weekend. She handmade beautiful cards and then wrote a special, heartfelt message in each of them. I'm sure she did this for every single person in her wedding, and now everyone has a little piece of her heart. And that means something to me... That's the power of words, written the old-fashioned way, on paper. I have every card she has ever written to Brailey, from the time Brailey was three years old.

The neat thing about saving all these things is the story they tell. I found a number of cards I had written to Brady back in the beginning of our relationship. Eventually, I'm going to organize them all by date and put them in a book. This will be our Love Story. As I was reading them, it brought back to me the depth of emotion and love I have for Brady. And I was surprised to find that while I still love him as much as ever, the words I write to him have changed with the addition of our two B's. My friend Kim has all the love letters she and her husband wrote to each other before they were married, and she put them into a special book for her children. When she told me about this, I thought it was a great idea, and I wished I had something like that for my kids, not realizing I did have it. I didn't remember all those cards I had saved until I found them.

Yes, I've saved every note, card and letter from my mother and Brady's mother. I've saved every card and letter from anyone that's special to me. I'm even saving all the cards and pictures Brailey gets from her special friend Jaden, because I know it will be wonderful for them to see someday. Kimmy is doing the same thing with the stuff Brailey has given to Jaden. I can't wait until the day they go through it all together... (Kim! Maybe we should coordinate on making these books...!?)

Anyway, the point being, never underestimate the power of the written word, even in today's world of Facebook and Twitter and texting and email. Go ahead - take the time and write to someone special in your life today. Tell your story, one card/letter at a time...

1 comment:

  1. and after such a fun day...I come home and get a card from my friend..you are so right..it is very special! You are so good!! It does lift me up everytime :) I love the book idea too...they can even pass them along to their children..since they are going to be "god parents" to each others kids...lol..they are the cutest!

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