Love Letters

Have you ever kept something that had special meaning, filed it away, then come across it years later?

I do this a lot. I’ll keep birthday, Easter and Christmas cards, cards from my parents to my cat so that I can look back on them someday and count on a smile coming across my face when I need one the most, and I keep notes — thank you notes from friends whose baby showers, weddings and bridal showers I attended.

Tonight I came across a note that I haven’t seen in years — eight years and almost four months, to be exact. Somehow it made its way across the country with me when I moved home from Connecticut, as did an airline itinerary. When I was shredding some office stuff tonight, I came across it.

Lauren – I had a very good time. Enjoyed getting acquainted with your new world and have some wonderful memories to relive in my heart over the months ahead. Your new apartment is very nice — it is so “you” — tasteful and creatively elegant! I love you! -Mom

It was dated June 27th, the final day of my mom’s trip to visit me in Connecticut when I lived there. I don’t believe I saw it before we left for the airport, but when I returned from JFK, it was sitting there on my kitchen counter. It made me cry, because it was just like my mom to write one. When I was living in California, she’d send one or two a week even though I was only an hour away. In Connecticut, they were more frequent — recipes, letters she wrote while sitting at her computer and decided to send via snail-mail instead of dropping it into an email, “thinking of you” cards.

I can picture the exact spot where I found it when I returned home from the airport. It was resting on the gray-blue mottled Formica kitchen countertop, securely weighted down by my royal blue wrought iron cookbook stand which held a massive Better Homes and Gardens recipe book. At the time, I probably saved both it and her itinerary in the event the unthinkable happened and she never made it home — I was guaranteed to have at least one thing from mom nearby. But I realized tonight that the note has many meanings now.

It’s a reminder of a fairly tumultuous time in my life and how my parents’ support, despite a few thousand miles separating us, never waned. It’s a reminder of where my writing bug comes from. It’s a reminder that the small things in life — dropping a letter into a mailbox for someone or leaving one in a hidden place, then being on the receiving end of it — can be the most rewarding things. It’s a reminder that no matter how many silly, funny, sweet, corny or informative mailings I might get, there’s no doubt that love is tucked into the envelope each and every time.

Interestingly, I think it’s true what they say about moms: she knows best. Her choice of words is interesting to me now, years later. It’s as though she knew my time there was limited.

…some wonderful memories to relive in my heart over the months ahead.

Maybe “months” was nothing more than wishful thinking, or maybe she was willing that to be the case with her mom-powers. Either way, it came true. I moved back to California about nine months later, settled back into a job at the agency I’d left for Connecticut in the first place, and resumed life as I knew it.

Tonight I am thankful for finding the note that I’ve had safely tucked away for years and the meaning that has been added to it since 2005. It’s a reminder of a lot, not the least of which is the realization that some of the best love letters aren’t the mushy or romantic type, but the ones that are sent with love and written by family because we’re forever in their hearts and minds. What a beautiful, blessed gift.

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