The last few weeks, I have been having an age crisis.
My niece just turned eighteen, the very same one I taught in Nursery at church. The very same one who, when she was a year old, I remember pushing her in a shopping cart, when she rubbed her sweet little hand over mine. Her skin was so impossibly soft, that the moment left an indelible impression on me.
Next, my son will be turning twelve on Friday. How in the world did that happen? Add greater significance to that, my youngest child just turned six, which means he only has twelve years until he’s eighteen. And though I know one never stops being a parent, this month marks the technical mid-point of raising my children.
Then of course, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. And I was feeling very thirty-six, and very single.
I feel like we’re just barreling through our lives, surviving from one experience to the next, that I keep forgetting to have this fully-examined life that my tenth grade English teacher was always exhorting us to have. And then I realize that I do look around at my life, quite often, actually, and what I have found is that everything around me is moving fast, too.
A few weeks ago, I was shocked at how much different our lives are now from how they were just a few years ago. I was watching an old rerun of Mad About You (Can you believe that show was on twenty years ago??), and Jamie and Paul were on vacation in Las Vegas. Jamie was sitting on the couch writing something on a piece of paper, and Paul asked what she was doing.
Jamie told him she was writing to her sister, and then Paul started babbling about how they were just about to leave, and why did Jamie have to be writing to her sister when they were going to see her in just a couple of days.
Then Jamie shoved the paper at him and said, “Here, say hello.”
He whined a bit, and then Jamie insisted. Paul sighed, scribbled something on the piece of paper, handed it back, and she was happy.
When I saw the little exchange, I was shocked. If Jamie and Paul were on that vacation now, they’d each have cell phones, and Jamie would have just called her sister every day of the trip. Or they would’ve emailed. Or Skyped. Or facetimed.
Can you believe it? Just fifteen years ago, we were in that world. The letter-writing world.
And I don’t want all of that world to completely slip away. Years ago, and still today in some circles, the mark of a well-brought-up person was how well they could craft a letter. I thought it would be fun to go back to when letter-writing was a true art, and so I went to this fantastic store in Salt Lake City called Tabula Rasa (which I absolutely love, by the way), and bought each of my kids some nice stationery, ink, and pens—the kind they would need to dip.
We had a delightful time. My nephew is serving a mission, as a representative for our church in Knoxville, Tennessee, so we decided to write to him first. Before anyone wrote on the stationery, they practiced using their pens on brown paper.
My oldest son got right to work.
My daughter tried out her new cursive,
and my littlest wrote his name the very best he could in yellow, his favorite color. He was quite happy with it.
When we were done, we got out some sealing wax and stamps, and sealed up the envelopes.
I think we should make a habit of this. And maybe then, time will slow down, even if it’s just a little.
What about you? Do you miss writing letters?