Our sweet Beatrice turned 1 this past week. Hard to believe. We found ourselves reliving each moment of the day she was born, as we often do on our childrens’ birthdays.
We gathered with friends and family, and after singing a strong Happy Birthday chorus we watched with anticipation as Bea eyed her birthday cupcake, similar to our older boys’ 1st Birthdays. (Unlike myself and her brothers, she only picked at her frosting, no smearing this year!)
After all the pink cupcakes were eaten, balloons deflated, and gifts strewn about the house, we read through the birthday wishes once again. Over the years the mantle over our kitchen fireplace has become the natural location to display cards, and they seem to stay their for awhile. I like this tradition. It seems fitting. However this year I started a new tradition.
Katherine, a good friend of mine who lives in Portland, has been writing a birthday letter to her children since their early years. It began when a friend shared the idea of writing letters to her kids in case she passed away while they were still young. She thought, “You are nuts. I can’t write those (thoughts) without crying like mad.” But then she tried it and loved it. And now, Katherine no longer thinks about the possibility of not being around to share this information, but, instead, centers her letters towards details such as “this year you…And we did….” She also includes a photo of herself and child during that time, anecdotes, and maybe a bit of motherly advice. Katie looks at the letter like a big journal entry about her children, delivered directly to them, but not opened until years later.
So this year, I found a Birthday card, (I have just a few in the basement waiting to be sold on Brown Ink), sat down and wrote my first “year in review” letter to Beatrice. It did feel a bit like a journal entry but was even more meaningful knowing these written words would not be read until Beasie’s an adult. Hopefully my handwriting won’t look unfamiliar to her and the stories – some she’ll know, others she won’t – will help her understand what makes her Beasie.