On my sons 1st birthday I found myself searching for the perfect birthday gift for him. Sure he’d get plenty of toys and cute clothes from friends and family, but I wanted to give him something special and sentimental just from me. I had read something about writing a letter to your child on their 1st birthday and thought that was a fantastic idea so I shared with a friend this idea and she told me the sweetest story about a mom who did something very similar but even better. My friend said that her mother-in-law had written her husband a letter every year for his birthday and saved them up without telling anyone. After the couple announced they were going to have a baby, the mother gave her son a box of all those birthday letters. I was teary-eyed at the thought of this and decided this would be my gift every year to my babies.
Kids birthdays sometimes get a bad rap for being all about gifts or parties that are too “over the top.” Similarly, I often hear parents complain that they don’t like their own birthdays. But I think birthdays are a perfect time for reflection and reminiscing, especially about your kids. Sometimes as parents we get caught up in challenging phases that seem to last forever, and then we look back and see it was all part of a growth process. It’s amazing the changes kids make in a year, and we as parents get to be a part of it all the good and the bad. Sometimes we can’t see the good until we are out of the tough stuff, but there can be good in all of it if we look hard enough.
You don’t have to be a professional or fancy writer to do this-all it takes is a quiet moment, pen, and paper. I write to my children in the current state that they are in and it has become fun to look back on the previous years (even though there aren’t too many years because my children are still young). I just got done writing a letter to my daughter on her 1st birthday and here is a little snippet:
“I love our quiet mornings together when I can drink my coffee and just watch you play. You examine every toy with great care and are driven to understand how everything works in the world. I’m in constant amazement of how fearlessly you explore the world. You are such a curious, independent, and determined baby, and I know that these qualities will serve you well in life. I can see that you have some of my spiritedness and drive-I hope that I can support you in this and help you see that there is space for all of this and all of you in the world. There will be people in this world that will be uncomfortable with a girl of your caliber, and I hope you never shrink yourself for their comfort. You will do great things baby girl and I can’t wait to witness it all.”