The grownup equivalent of a handmade construction paper card
If you're reading this, you've obviously followed the link in my birthday email to find your gift. It's not exactly the kind of thing one wraps in pretty paper (though I'll give you one of those when I see you this weekend), so let me explain.
Over the past few years, you've told me countless times that I ought to be writing down the cute kid stories for posterity. At one point about 2 years ago, you even suggested that I ought to be keeping a blog. I was surprised at the time to even hear that you knew what a blog was, since the term was so new to me at the time. But I listened to your advice (I always do, you know, even when it seems like I'm not listening at all), and I gave it a whirl.
I started this blog on Rosh Hashanah a little over a year ago, and I've been steadily writing ever since. In the archives to the right of this letter are hundreds of entries detailing the past year of my life. Most of the stories you know already through our frequent conversations, though you'll probably find a few hidden gems and some unexplored territory if you dig deep enough. Some of the writing I'm proud of -- proud enough to consider trying to publish some day -- other entries are entirely forgettable. I'll leave it up to you whether to read every word, skim a bit here and there or simply pick up reading from here.
For a long time, this blog was my secret; my private place to record and reflect and my personal opportunity to reclaim my love of writing. As time has passed, others have come to read what I write here. Some were strangers who stumbled upon my blog and liked what I had to say, a few -- like Paul -- I invited to take a look. My favorite readers are Dan and Jordan, who found this site by accident a few months ago and now tell me they've come to know me and my children better than ever before through their daily visits here. Now I'm inviting you to do the same.
Over the past year, I've written a lot about my relationship with my children, trying to preserve for posterity what I know will inevitably change as they grow. I've reflected a lot on my experience as a parent, and in doing so, I've given a lot of thought to the way I was parented. Two years ago, when I was on bedrest waiting for Evan's arrival, you said something to me that I'll never forget. You were helping to straighten the chaos of my house as I laid helplessly there watching, and I tried inadequately to thank you for all of your help. "You're my daughter," you told me as you brushed off my thanks. "You're a mother now, so you should understand what that means." It was all you had to say. And the intensity with which I suddenly did understand brought tears to my eyes.
I've thought countless times since that day about that conversation, and about how differently I view our relationship now that I'm raising children of my own. Some day, I hope that Julia and Evan will read what I've written here and come to know themselves and me better through my writing. It was Paul who originally suggested that this might be a great opportunity for you to do the same (I knew there was a reason I loved the guy). So this year for your birthday, I'm giving you a place to get your daily grandkid fix. I'm giving you an opportunity to get a closer look at the person your own child has become. And I suspect I'm also giving you an occasional walk down memory lane as you reminisce about your years at home with me and Dan. But most of all, I'm entrusting you with something that is important to me, and in doing so, I'm trying to tell you how important you are to me, too.
Happy birthday, Mom. And thanks... for the writing gene, for the parenting role model and for the relationship I hope to replicate with my own adult children some day. I love you.