Monday, April 4, 2011

The Thank You Note


 I sat down at the dining room table with a stack of note cards a few weeks ago. All pretty and monogrammed and I have one very special Sharpie that I use for just this purpose. I think it's because I'm pretty sure that this particular Sharpie has note writing inspiration fused into it. So notes that would be clunky and say things like "Hey, you totally got me  [crap! I forgot...] some awesome gift that I'd remember if I wrote this when you gave it to me for my birthday which was four months ago. I suck. Love, Kate" instead reads more like "Shannon and Zack, The wine glasses are absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much. Please forgive my unbelievable delay in writing. I suppose these things happen when one combines proximity to turning forty with a deep Cabernet. So I toast you with the latter, and use it to forget the former. Much love, Kate"

And even though I'm all about technology and speed and convenience, I love writing letters and notes...and have completely indoctrinated the IHPs with the same psychosis passion. To the degree that they all have custom made stationery.  Which includes a special pen and stamps and even address books that are starting to fill up. I'd burst with pride if only they'd use their supplies and skills to write things other than snarky notes to each other. "Dear McGee, You smell like a goat. That is bad. But they are cute even if they bite. And you can't bite because Mom said so. Your brother, Lefty."

And then it'll get put in the mail, and McGee will open it three days later and then the flurry of 44 cent insults begins, and my house starts looking like we just got accepted to Hogwarts.

The kids came to check on me and saw the stack of finished notes on the table. Lefty said, "Why do you never write us letters?" I told him that I was happy to write them, but that they had to write me back. They all nodded enthusiastically, and then just. stood. there. as I started to write. I actually had to encourage them to go play Wii. My Sharpie may have special powers, but even he got all ink shy when they stared at him. 


Forty-five child-free minutes later, scribed to the sound of Lego Indiana Jones, I had what they wanted.


To my children:


Do you remember the picture from the beach that shows you guys facing away from the camera and looking at the ocean? You always ask me why it's my favorite. It's my favorite because you all were so happy and peaceful and together.

It's also because it's my job as your Mom to get you ready to face the world. And go on amazing adventures into the world. That means that you have to go away from me. And, I have to be OK with that, even though sitting here right now, it makes me sad.

You may not understand it now, but that picture also means that, when you go, even though you're not looking my direction, you'll always feel me behind you, supporting you, and being there in case you fall.

But I want you to know these things before you go.

I remember the moment you all were born like it just happened a minute ago. McGee, you looked at me with absolute certainty about who I was. Happy, you screamed like a banshee and you've basically never cried since. I think you used it all up. Lefty, we almost lost you. I saw you for two seconds and then you were whisked away and I didn't see you again for hours. We have a bond, my son, in that we came back from almost certain death together. I know I never could have come back without you.You saved my life.

I come into your rooms at night and smell your heads. When you were babies, you smelled like a combination of syrup and puppy breath. It went away when you were about two months old, but in my memory, I can still smell it every once in a while.

I love your feet. 

There is good in this world. There is also a lot of bad. I say a prayer every night that you are surrounded by the first and mercifully spared the second. You three are the treasures in my life and I would give my last breath on earth for each one of you.


I yell too much and probably hug too little. I know that I get frustrated at bedtime and that it isn't fair that I'm grumpy when all you want is one more snuggle. I know that one day you'll want me to stop doing it, and then I'll be sad. You know how when we're doing something really fun and then you complain about something and I get mad because we're doing something awesome and you're complaining? That's kind of what being a mom is like. I get to do this awesome thing like hang out with you guys and then I complain about it. Sometimes moms forget how great it is because we're busy complaining and doing laundry. When I do that, just give me a really squishy kiss, OK?

My favorite thing is to go on long walks with you. I know sometimes you think they're boring and I almost always wind up carrying one of you, but it's easy for a grown up to forget that crunching leaves is fun, that seeing a cocoon means that we have to keep coming back hoping to see a butterfly, and that getting soaking wet in a summer rainstorm is probably the most fun in the world.

I wish I could tell you exactly how much I love you. That it's bigger than the sky and deeper than the ocean, and better than anything else in the whole world. And even though you think I can throw anything away, I have three big boxes with each of your names hidden in the closet in the bedroom. Little mementos of you that my heart wanted to keep forever.


You are more magical than Harry Potter. You are more amazing than the Red Sox winning the World Series. And you are the greatest thing that I have ever done, or will ever do, in my entire life. Tonight when you say your prayers, tell God that Mommy says Thank You. He'll know what I'm talking about.
 
Before you, I believed in the possibility of miracles. Because of you, I know they're real.

I love you like cake.

Mom

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Yesterday I got this:

"Dear Mom, We love your letter. We hid it in a safe place. It was really long. Next time can you write a shorter one? This was like homework. We love you like cake too. [signed] McGee   HAPPY    Lefty "

"PS Happy wants to know if we can make a cake now."


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

62 comments:

  1. I adore this! Every Mom should do ths for her children! Thank you for sharing! :)

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  2. Love, Love, Love!!!!!
    Kate that is the most amazing letter! And your kids response was perfect!
    Kristi, Michigan

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  3. HAHAAAHHAHAHAHAHA

    I loved your letter and was seriously choking up. And then, I read their letter to you. I am dying from laughter over here. Your children are AWESOME!

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  4. That was gorgeous. Thank you.

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  5. Yeah, I'm sitting here bawling like Lydia in the BWT. Will you please post a warning or a spoiler alert or something so I don't stumble upon stuff like this when the house is quiet and my little IHPs are tucked up in bed? Please? Cuz I love mine like cake, too, and...well, you know.

    And. And. AND. My word verification thingy just came up as "prodort." I'm pretty sure that's not really a word. Just what kind of outfit are you running here?

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  6. dammit. Thanks for the tears. <3

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  7. Thank you for that! It is really easy to get caught up in the everyday things like laundry. I needed a reminder today.
    xoxo

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  8. This touches a chord with me as I glance over my shoulder to see the stack of thank you notes I have yet to write to the guests of my daughter's first birthday party. I'm looking forward to when she is old enough to write her own thank you notes, or at least help me write them! And the note you wrote your kids is so very sweet. I'm glad they wrote back. ^_^

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  9. happy tears for their reply! hahaha oh kids really are amazing :)

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  10. What a cute post! Kids never appreciate anything. It's like doing their laundry...half of it was still clean but it ended up in the dirty pile anyway. It was easier than putting it back in the drawer.
    Sandy
    www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

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  11. Thanks for making me cry. Now, I have to write a letter to my 6 miracles. :-)

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  12. This made my day and probably my week! It also made me cry happy tears(which is making my mascara run!) Thanks for sharing this awesomeness!

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  13. WHAT!? You made me cry and I am NOT laughing!

    beautiful

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  14. So, did y'all make cake then? Please say yes.

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  15. YOU KNOW! I go to you on a dreary PMS Monday morning to laugh NOT BAWL my eyes out!!!! Loved your letter.

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  16. That was awesome, and the response was even awesomer. You nailed it so perfectly!

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  17. Like I haven't cried ENOUGH this weekend???!!! This was just beautiful. And now I want to write a letter to Jude, even though he can't read. Or speak in complete sentences.

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  18. You're a dick for making me cry this early in the morning.

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  19. This is awesome, and I'm totally stealing the idea. Thanks. :)

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  20. Great. Now I've got tear marks all over the grocery list in my lap. *sniffle* "sob*

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  21. I'm a letter writer too and often write cards and notes for the darlings. Thanks to your inspiration, I'm planning an ode to their awesomeness. Thanks!

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  22. That was absolutely beautiful! But I just read it at work and now I am all teary. Luckily it is still early and there aren't a lot of people here.

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  23. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Except you made me cry!! I love the kids response too!!!

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  24. Love like cake? Now THAT is the ultimate.

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  25. Thank you for sharing your letters! I have a small notebook that I started when my daughter was about 4 (she's now almost 8) and it's entitled (oh so appropriately) "Letters to My Daughter". I pick it up every once in a while and write her a letter about what's going on in our lives or the world. I share memories. I share advice and whatever wisdom I can muster. I share quotes and song lyrics. I hope she'll appreciate it at some point. But this post makes me realize that maybe I should share a few of those letters with her now.

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  26. Thank you for sharing this! I could see myself in some of the things you wrote to your kids.....and cracked up at their reply to you!

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  27. super awesome. I love writing letters to my boys and can't wit till they can write letters to me. Even ones that say "that letter was too long and it felt like homework." Kids are so real and my we always have honesty like that with our kids, especially in the teen years when they don't want as much snuggling. I will think of this tonight s a reminder when my 4 year old asks "can you snuggle for just a little longer? Pleeeeeese?" and I promise I won't accuse him of stalling bedtime again.

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  28. Hooker, you suck for making me all teary first thing in the morning.

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  29. Thanks for making me cry, Fancy!!

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  30. Just beautiful. Love this.

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  31. Very nice. Moms need to remember this, esp the single moms that think we just can't do this alone one more week! Thanks so much.

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  32. Beautiful. So well-put. That Sharpie really is magical.

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  33. This made me laugh, and my eyes leak, and laugh again...and then laugh as I remember lydia's comment on facebook about "it was so good, It made me want to drive over to kate's house and punch her in the face"

    HAHAHAHA!

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  34. Agh, you made me cry at work, and I'm not even pregnant! Are you even allowed to do that?

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  35. "I know I never could have come back without you. You saved my life."
    Amen, sister. Amen.

    As Mommies, our kids ARE the best things we've ever done; and their love is an absolute life saver.

    This post is gorgeous, Kate.

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  36. Thank you for sharing this note to your kids! I think Lydia is right, Kate needs a punch in the face. :o) She made me cry like a baby and think about all the wonderful things I love about being a mom, even though I have to do laundry and millions of dishes. You are great!

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  37. Really, really loved this - so appreciative of your message today!

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  38. I'm a new mom and I'm overwhelmed by my love for my baby boy. This letter expresses so much of what I feel. Thank you for writing it and sharing it.

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  39. I love the Red Sox shout out! I could see Fenway Park from the delivery room in Boston when I had both my boys. They are more amazing, but I always tell them they were born in the shadow of Fenway...and greatness.

    Thanks for the post! I feel more grounded today.

    Trina

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  40. WARNING: Pregnant chicks should not read this while sitting at their desk at work. *sob* So beautiful Kate. :)

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  41. And now I'm crying at my desk, stinkin' kids! Why must they tug at our hearts so :-)

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  42. Kate! Darn you! I'm all watery at work now at my desk. Makes me think of my angels and how much I love them. Thank you for writing such a beautiful letter and sharing it with us.

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  43. Amazing. And it may seem like homework to them now, but one day they'll find it again and will appreciate it. Thanks for the reminder of how precious our kids are.

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  44. Oh that is EXACTLY the way I wanted to end my workday today...sniffling at my computer, wanting to hug my three children right now, and knowing they're about a half hour away and I can't. This is a beautiful letter, and a funny response. Consider yourself copied and pasted, to be edited as per my own household and emotions at some point in the future. Oh. And thanks for being a good writer and all... :)

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  45. It is posts like this - that have humor, grace and charm rolled into them - that lured me into the awesomeness that is your blog. Both of you ladies have such a fun, poignant perspective on the joys and tribulations of motherhood - thank you for sharing! And, thank you for sharing the raw part of your hearts that is truly and deeply motherhood - it reminds me to take a minute and enjoy the silly, sweet perfection that is my oldest daughter and to marvel at how much I already love my not-quite-here-yet-second daughter already... THANK YOU!

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  46. Phew, I needed this today. Two sick kids and one sick mom = I'm about to lose my schmidt. But they're awesome, even when oozing bodily fluids. Thanks for the reminder! I'm totally going to punch you for making me cry.

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  47. You suck! I've had the intention of writing my kids beautiful letters telling them how I feel about them for YEARS now, and you sit down and do it in 45 MINUTES? Damn you and your mad writing skillz!

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  48. That was a lovely letter, Kate. It made me cry and then laugh out loud at the kids' response. Fabulous! Reading this was a very nice end to a really crappy day. Thanks!

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  49. ok, this post rocked. I write notes to my kids all the time, because they love them. But mine usually say Go to bed NOW. I LOVE YOU. SWEET DREAMS! (and wake me up for NO reason other than blood or vomit). xoxo

    I may have to now plagiarize your note and call it my own. After all, moms gotta help each other out.

    The latest note from one of my cherubs read: "Mom - so and so called me a poopy butthole and she broke my heart. I am really really really really so so so so sad."

    My reply to them--everyone STFU. Love and kisses, mommy!

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  50. Wow...just wow. I'm crying and everything...

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  51. I almost cried at work over this... I AM A MAN DAMNIT! AT WORK! You get it and you said it perfectly. Well done!

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  52. "...you are the greatest thing I have ever done, or will ever do, in my entire life." This absolutely brought me to tears. Thank you for articulating what I feel is the greatest purpose of my existence that I sometimes suck horribly at. xo

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  53. I just clicked over to your blog from SDL, and I think I might be in love. And in awe. I have apparently found my better self. You have all my grump, with a dash of epicness thrown in. Keep rocking the mom-ness! (OMG the pajamajeanssssss >.<)

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  54. Wow, I'm tearing up, knowing so well what you're talking about. I hope my kids one day will know and experience what it feels like to love someone this much!

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  55. THANK YOU for writing this & posting for is to read. I am now crying over my breakfast/lunch of raisin bran. Big tears, tears that make me want to go wake the baby & just kiss him all day long. Reading this made me want to pick the two big kids up & tell them they amaze me. I am going to do this & hope I can express to them my love half as well as you did.

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  56. I'm going to go snuggle with my miracle, I was grumpy at bedtime too.

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  57. This was not the first time I read this. I came back here needing inspiration for the ridiculous mounds of thank you notes I need to send in appreciation of gifts for my now 4 month old. Yet here I sit sobbing and thinking I need to enjoy each day with my kids instead of looking forward to my "me" time. Thank you for reminding me to appreciate my 3 blessings.

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  58. Going to go apologize for being a grumpy mom when we're doing cool stuff. Thanks for sharing this.

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