Letters are for looking back.
Just as with a journal, letters allow us to remember both the joy and the pain.
Pictures are a different kind of remembering, mostly the happy kind. How often do we take pictures of skinned knees, allergic reactions, temper tantrums, bad mood mommies, rejection letters, burned waffles, spilled milk, stinky diapers, house contracts that fall through, or funeral processions?
The pictures make us happy and nostalgic, but the letters remind us that, "Life is like pizza. Even when it's bad, it's good."
Last year, on July 9th, I wrote a letter to my mom and sent her a few pictures (the best of both worlds!).
I would have completely forgotten the trial I faced that day had I not been documenting my letters all year long last year and reading back through some of them now. And even if I did remember the hardship, it would be a vague recollection, pegged only as happening "sometime last summer."
I get to celebrate through remembering because I get to be thankful that what happened then isn't happening now. Letters read later act as a call to celebration, a tribute to overcoming a trial.
This is a picture of the pictures I sent in my mom's letter last year.
Day 123: July 9, 2015
This time 36 years ago, you were a very pregnant lady. Did you want me to be born on a particular day? Were you nervous about having your first baby? I can't believe I am almost 36. It seems like a lot of years to have lived, yet I hope I have at least 50 more. I also hope I grow older as gracefully and as full of peace with myself as you have. You are a great example for me, Mama, and I'm so glad to have you in my life. I printed these pictures for you the other day, but instead of giving them to you when you were here, I wanted to put them in a card to you.
Today is Day 123 of my letter-writing project, so I'm officially more than a third done now. I'm still enjoying it very much.
Last night after dinner, our kitchen sink suddenly got clogged. It had not been draining slowly or acting up at all, and then all of a sudden, it wouldn't drain at all. TJ spent over 2 hours last night trying to figure out the problem - taking apart the pipes, pouring down Drano, fiddling around in the utility closet where he thought the pipes led - all to no avail. So it was all very stressful because we were having people come over for dinner and I didn't see how I could cook today. I was really worked up about it this morning, not sure if we should cancel or order pizza. I finally decided to start dinner prep over in the garage apartment (with the boys helping me carry things back and forth). The guy came to fix the sink around 12:30, and using his tools, he cleared the pipes, no problem. So now we are back in business!....although I feel like I need a whole day to mentally recover from the stress of the situation. It felt like a giant. I'm glad it happened before TJ was out of town or we have all our houseguests. That would've been even worse. Writing about it now is good for debriefing!
Let's talk soon.
So that was then, and this is now. It's a beautiful Saturday at the lake and our drains are working just fine. No one is coming for dinner, and in eight days, I'll turn 37. I still hope I have at least 50 years to live. And I still want to grow old like my mom.
(I feel like I should attribute the "Life is like pizza" quote to someone because I didn't make it up, but I have no idea where I heard it.)