At some point in my growing up years, my parents introduced the tradition of Valentine letters. We would write a letter to each member of our family saying what we loved about them, have a special Valentine’s dinner and read them aloud (which became increasingly uncomfortable as I got older). Although I’m sure my parents had a wise reason for the vocal affection.
My mom later told me that she wanted us to know that we were loved, especially by our siblings, even if we didn’t always say it out loud. Despite the 12 year span in our ages we are all incredibly close, so something they did definitely worked.
I read through a lot of these letters yesterday. They are priceless to me. There was the one my tweenage little sister wrote mostly in acronyms (you know stuff like “it’s good 2 B UR sister”), and the one my little brother wrote about Tarzan, Jane and stratus clouds – I’m sure it was a symbolic story of how much he loved me.
I’ve kept the tradition in my own family. We often read them aloud, mostly because not all of my children are excellent readers yet, but not always. This one Josh made as a 5 -year-old for his Dad. “Broken hearts are fixed by Dady-o”.A cross section of Anna’s binder. There is always a variety of approaches every year.
I love to see what they come up with. To Max, from Josh. Some things that my parents and siblings wrote changed over time, and some stayed the same. When I need a self-esteem boost I can always look back through and get a good idea of what I have to offer the world. Words mean a lot to me.
It’s not always perfect. Some of my children were not in the mood to write letters this year. Even after I requested that they think of their 5 favorite things, letters like, “Thanks for being my sister. You’re cool.” were the best we got.
Sometimes they get a small present too. Max went looking for gifts with me this year. He came across this pink spatula and begged and begged for it. We put back the dinosaur book I had picked out and brought it home (he got his early). He hasn’t let go of it since.