I've had an epiphany of sorts lately. Let's file this post under 'unexpected joys' or 'bulking up your teen's writing skills,' but it's all about going old school. Yep, I'm talking snail mail. First off, you have to know that I enjoy technology like nobody's business. I'm all about using technology to organize my disorderly self and improve efficiency. Do you know there's a breastfeeding app that times how long your baby nurses and then keeps track of which side you fed on last? If I had babies during the iphone age? I would have been ALL OVER that. And it goes without saying that I can send and receive e-mails in mere minutes. So, except for receiving packages via Amazon Prime and proliferating artsy Christmas cards, I wasn't entirely certain of the value of the USPS.
I know. I think deep thoughts.
But then Jordan left for France, and I was relegated to one measly e-mail per week. Don't get me wrong. The e-mail is fantastic, and I wait anxiously all Sunday evening, knowing it will arrive in the wee hours of Monday morning. But I read the e-mail, sigh in satisfaction, and then have the hideous realization I'll have to wait another seven full days to hear from my very own baby girl. Luckily, Jordan inherited my wordy gene, and so we usually get a real-life, paper-and-envelope letter from her every week as well. Here's how it goes down: I open the mailbox and pull out the stack of catalogues, bills, and junk mail. Standing barefoot in the street, I shuffle through the junky advertisements until . . . YES! . . . an envelope all the way from FRANCE!! Then I calmly walk back inside, put the other pieces of mail in their respective places (ie mostly in the trash) and sit on the couch to S L O W L Y open the letter. The letter contains her handwriting. And sometimes pictures. She decorates the envelope with stickers and makes our address all scroll-y and fancy. There it is. It's tangible. I leave it on the coffee table for the rest of the family to read. I show it to strange repair people who are in our home. I re-read it several times throughout the week. Guys, it's an utter delight.
And you know what else? I write her back -- usually once a week. But if I suddenly think of something I want to tell her . . . I might send a random letter just because. I include recipes for her to try (she is always asking for more). Sometimes I print out instagrams, trim them into tidy squares, and send them along. Today I printed out this awesome monster coloring page, because even if she doesn't have time to doodle on it, I know she'll appreciate the sentiment. I'm constantly on the look out for funny/cool cards to send, and I have a healthy collection in my desk drawer -- ready to go.
It turns out that even if I'm not good at quitting sugar, or exercising everyday, or writing on my dissertation as much as I should -- I'm a darn good corresponder. Does that count for something?
Here's something else. This correspondence is SO good for my sophomore and seventh grader here at home. They are writing! With a purpose! Which often turns out to be the very best kind of writing. Granted, I have to make this a specific activity wherein I pull out paper and pens and markers and stickers and sit them down to the table, but once I've done all of the prep work -- they comply very amiably. (Story of my life.)
I've been thinking about how much happiness these letters have brought to my daily life. Perhaps I'm a nineteenth-century girl at heart. So, I'm working on bringing back the letter -- quality paper, fine penmanship, messages from the heart. Just today I sent a letter off to Annie -- all the way to Australia. Wonder if she'll write me back.