Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Write Me a Letter . . .

Who doesn't like to get real mail?
For a child, a hand-written letter from a grandparent is something special, especially if it's written in a way that shows genuine appreciation for who the child is, and who she is becoming.
I was blessed with a letter-writing grandmother. From the time I learned to read, she took the time to write at least occasionally to fill me in on what she was doing, and to ask what I was up to.
Grandma favored a simple tablet of lined paper for everyday letters, but she took advantage of every card she sent to include a personal note, and if she had fancy stationery, she used it. Her letters were often no more than a recitation of who she was going uptown with, or what she was making for dinner, or which chores she was trying to get done, but despite their apparent ordinariness, I treasure the ones I still have -- they are a window onto her life.
I use a variety of post-cards for quick notes to grandchildren, because they allow me to share interests, encourage curiosity, and engage a child's imagination. I can dash off a postcard quickly, so I keep a good stock in the stationery drawer in my kitchen, along with stamps, stickers, and addresses. That way, if I have a moment while something is simmering, I can write a quick note to a grandchild.
I try to write thank you notes, too, when I receive gifts or pictures from my grandchildren. Besides showing my appreciation, thank you notes allow a child to experience the pleasure of receiving thanks for their gifts and effort. What better way to encourage them to write their own thank you notes?
E-mail, texting and twittering is all good, but a hand-written letter has staying power.

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