A Legacy of Love Letters
Written by Shirlene Solomon
When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided that I would write my children letters about all the details of their lives.
When I was a child, I lived 1,500 miles from my grandparents and only saw them one or two times a year. My grandmother, whom we affectionately called Baba, was a wonderful woman. She was a part of God’s Church from her baptism in 1922.
One of the things I loved most about Baba is that she wrote me letters.
Baba was my pen pal for many years. From the piney woods of East Texas to the prairies of Canada, letters would arrive on a regular basis. She would tell me what kind of quilt she was making, what was growing in her garden, who was coming to visit and other details of her daily life.
It was a lovely way to learn about my heritage and family.
My legacy begins
I moved many times as a child, so many of the details of where I lived are very fuzzy for me. When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided that I would write my children letters so they could remember or learn about all the details in their lives. That’s when my legacy began.
I wrote to each child every month of my pregnancy, telling my unborn child how excited I was, what was going on in my life, and what it was like where we lived. Once my children were born, I wrote to them at least once a year.
Setting a few ground rules
I did have some ground rules for my letters to them.
For instance, I committed to never writing anything negative about them. I wrote down the cute things they said, what they liked to play, what it was like where we lived, and what was happening in the world at the time I wrote the letters.
I wrote these letters on whatever was handy at the moment.
The important thing is, I did write on or near every birthday. It helped me recall cute sayings that we use to this day in our family. One child’s failed attempt at kayaking at age 5 caused him to tell me he had “0 percent success rate at kayaking.” We say this jokingly in our family to this day.
Sometimes during moments of teenage angst, I would go back and read the letters I wrote. They were a summary of my love for my children, and they helped me realize that the struggles of the moment would pass, but my love would stand.
Gifting the letters
When my children graduated from high school, I gave them a box with these letters, their favorite book from childhood and a few other mementos. It is my hope that they will read through them in hard times and know how loved they really are. I hope that they will pass this on to their children and that, in a small way, my example can be an anchor for them.
The legacy continues
I am now raising a wonderful grandson and am continuing the legacy of letters to him. He is hilarious, and I write down all the cute things he says, what he is into at the moment, where we live, what we do and what is going on in the world.
I also try to highlight the blessings God has showered on us in the previous year. I want him to know that God has intervened in his life from an early age.
Starting your own legacy of love letters
I still have some of Baba’s letters. I am grateful for the unconditional love her letters are filled with and the insight they provide on my family. I hope my children and grandchildren will cherish theirs when they get older.
In the March/April 2014 issue of Discern magazine, Clyde Kilough wrote about “Leaving a Legacy for Your Grandchildren.”
“Grandparents who see their role as a responsibility and work to do it well will quickly realize the truth of Proverbs 17:6: ‘Children’s children are the crown of old men.’ They will find great reward in the unique type of delight, fulfillment and companionship that grandchildren offer. Bequeath to them a legacy—prepare for them the inheritance of a priceless relationship with you. Decades later, after they are grown and long after you are gone, they will continue to draw from your treasury everlasting memories of love, inspiration, direction, encouragement and wisdom.”
Whether you are a grandparent, mother or an aunt—it’s never too early or too late to start your own legacy of love letters.