Friday, January 25, 2013

Keeping The Love Letter Alive

Ours was a romance begun before the age of texting, before spam outnumbered actual messages in an email Inbox, and before cell phones stopped passing for enormous Art History textbooks on the front seat of your car.

It was a transitional age when technology was present but not oppressive, used but not central to daily existence.  As we hurtled towards the end of the twentieth century, the art of the love letter was quite alive and well.  

Back then, husband won my heart not with lavish gifts and dates at fancy restaurants but with blue-lined college rule paper and a ball point ink pen. 

By the time we married, the blue linen box of those letters had long since spilled over into several tipsy stacks, and we had moved on with the rest of society, sending more emails than hand-written notes. 

Still, the occasional masterpiece would cross my desk, flooding me with loving memories of those first hesitant scrawls exchanged between two fairly shy people.

I've often wondered about the upcoming generations.  Would they, too, experience the flush of finding a hand-penned note in their lockers or on their car windows?  Or would all that emotion and deep pensive thought be lost to the speed of LOL?

Last Fall, I started writing love letters again, this time to my oldest son.  I tucked a small note in Wyatt's lunch box, just a small reminder that mommy loved him and wished him a good day.  A month later, I wrote him another and left it on his backpack, this note  apologizing for being angry at him and asking his forgiveness.

Apparently, something clicked in that moment in Wyatt's young mind. Letters were about relationships--establishing them and continuing them.

Ever since, my kindergartner has been writing his own letters to anyone who will read them--me, his daddy, grandparents, aunt and uncle, as well as school teacher.  He even wrote one to another unknown teacher at recess, asking her to be his friend.  To his utter delight, she wrote a short note back with a pink heart drawn in the middle.

A pleased child has no poker face.  He was radiant.

No, his phonetic spelling is not always easy to read (he's six), and sometimes, I can't figure out the pictures.  But I have come to look forward to the little notes shoved in my face, left on my desk--especially when he knows he has done wrong and wants to mend the relationship with me.

Aside from "LOVe," "PLees FGiV" is the most frequently used phrase in his notes.

Forgiveness.  That's what his love notes ask me for--continued love and forgiveness.  What mother could not forgive?

Last night's missive was waiting for me when I arrived home.  The "Dear Mommy" letter was concluded with crudely drawn hearts beside a few X's and O's.

"Did you see them?" he asked this morning as I poured the milk.  "The X's are hugs and the O's are kisses."

"Yes," I smiled back, taking in his eager face.  "I love you, too."

We hug; I kiss his hair; and all is forgiven.

A low-tech love is sometimes the best.


  1. Your brother's favorite Christmas gift from me this year was a $2.00 journal and a package of glue sticks. I gave them with the promise to scrapbook a stack of grubby sticky notes from me that's he's been saving from his lunches, luggage and work bag for years.

    We think low-tech love is best sometimes, too :)

  2. This is absolutely precious, Jennifer. I feel inspired to pull out some stationery right now!