Prior to my son’s arrival, my maternal grandmother called me and asked what we wanted as a present for him. I asked her to write a letter about her life so that she could share her memories with him. At 96 years young, she has lived through a lot–the Great Depression, World War II, the Sixties, Vietnam, the Millennium, and many, many more world events–and I wanted to have a record of that. The resulting letter was well over twenty pages long and covered everything about her life, from where she was born to every place she ever lived, how she met her husband, her family, her jobs, and so much more. It was an amazing thing to read and so valuable for my son to have in the future. It’s particularly special because she wrote about my mom, who passed away last year. I’m grateful to have my own version of this letter from her–she wrote a journal when I was a baby that I have, and I have saved all of her voicemails and emails she’s sent me. It’s a way to keep her alive and with me, and when my son is old enough I want to share some of these things with him.
Reading the letter made me think about what I would write if I was writing a letter to my son. In this day and age, so many more things are documented online, from pictures on Instagram to “notes” on Facebook (although, thankfully, few people use that feature any more!) It makes me wonder how much I would need to write down, as so much is already recorded. However, especially on Instagram, there is so little context. In twenty years, will I remember why I posted a picture of flowers or a picture of my brunch? Will my son be able to know why I found that picture compelling enough to post? (Probably not, if he’s looking at food photographs. Most of the time I don’t remember why I posted them!)
I suppose that is a reason for this blog, to write things down in a semi-permanent and more contextual manner. Although not all of my posts are emotionally significant, each post means something to me, whether it’s a post about favorite recipes or beautiful things I’d like to incorporate into my life. I haven’t written too many emotionally significant posts, but I certainly plan to do so in the future.