Friday, February 22, 2013

Proud Letters

While Tim and Margaret were out of town last week and I was "writing my book," I got a lot of organizing done. You know, like going through my sock drawer deciding whether it would be a big mistake to throw away my "fat underwear." I also spent a lot of time just sitting in Jack's room, and  I found something to share with you today.

I share it with a reminder that this is just one family's idea.

Tim wrote the kids one or two "Proud Letters" each year. He would tell them some of the things they did to make him proud. He would have his computer remind him when it was time to write another one, and he'd usually mail them from work so the kids could get a letter in the mail. I like how these letters are truly from "Dad." If I had written them, they would be different, because my relationship with the kids differs from his.

Here are a few I found in Jack's room:

First Day of School, Sept 9, 2009:

Dear Jack,
On your first day of school this year, I wanted to take a minute and tell you how proud I am to be your father. There are many reasons why, but I thought I would share 3 recent examples of things you have done that make me proud.

I am proud of you for:

1) Taking the time to look after and entertain Lucy at the beach.
2) Working hard at Mrs. O'Shea's house, trimming bushes and pulling vines from the house, even though it meant you had less time to play with your friends.
3) Keeping calm when one of your friends insisted on playing with your special lego set and finding a solution without losing your cool.

I hope you have an exciting year in 5th grade.
Love, Dad


Jan 18, 2010

Dear Jack,
I'm so proud of you for trying basketball this year, especially because you had never played a real basketball game before. It takes real courage to try something new and not be afraild  of making mistakes and maybe even looking or feeling uncomfortable as you learn new skills. Keep up the good work and great attitude!

And after a difficult first week or two, you have adapted quite nicely to haivng an expander and braces. I know they can be uncomfortable at times, but you will be very happy when you are older and have nice straight teeth to complement your beautiful smile. Finally, I wanted you to know that I have noticed how you have been holding the door open for other people. Keep it up! You never know when your act of kindness may be the only glimpse of God that someone might have in their day. Love, Dad

Dear Jack,
I am so thankful you are my son. I have a lot of fun playing catch with you, building puzzles, reading together, and playing games. And I love it when you express your views about things. You always have something interesting to say. I'm proud of you for many reasons. Recently, I have been proud of how independently you get ready for bed at night and ready to go to school in the morning. We don't even have to tell you to get ready-- you just do it! I am also proud of how you play with younger kids in the neighborhood like David, Amelia, and Ellie, and keep them entertained. You have a very caring heart and I love you very much.
Red, Yellow, Blue....I love you!
Dad

Hi Jack,
It has been a while since I wrote a letter to you. I wanted to let you know that I'm proud of you for so many reasons. For example, I am proud of the way you asked me for extra help with pop ups this spring. With a little extra practice you were soon catching everything I threw at you. Great job at taking the initiative to work on something that was difficult to do, making it become something that is now easy for you to do.

I'm also proud of the way that you set a good example for the younger boys on your team this fall. You helped teach them about good sportsmanship, aggressive base running and being in the right position for each play. I know your coach appreciated your veteran experience on the team. This summer at the beach I once again appreciated how you played with Lucy and kept her entertained.

More recently, I have been proud of your ability to ignore Margaret's comments, looks, jabs, etc. I know it's not always easy, but you are starting to show her who is in control of the situation-- and it's you! Only 90 more days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
Love you,
Dad

****
Thanks for coming by today! I hope you have a lovely weekend.

69 comments:

Jules said...

LOVE this idea. I'm sure that Jack loved getting these letters. As parents, we tell our children these things but to take a little extra time out of your day, write it down & send it so that they get a little something in the mail...that is wonderful. I think that we will have to try this. It isn't always the big things in life that leave the biggest impressions. You are showing your family that you notice the little things that they do & why they are so important. GREAT JOB!!

Arnebya said...

It is just one family's way, but it can (and has, with me) resonated on an afternoon when this is just what was needed. I remain so utterly sorry that Jack is no longer with you but increasingly certain that he knew how loved, cherished, and special he was.

This touches me so much because I used to do this. And saying used to hurts so much right now knowing what you've lost in losing Jack. I used to write my girls letters and notes in their lunch. When did I stop? WHY did I stop?

Suzan Sweatman said...

What a beautiful post Anna - and what an incredible man your children HAVE as a dad - I say HAVE because he will always be Jack and Margaret's Dad.....and he's a pretty special one, no wonder Jack was so special.
( oh and you may have had a little bit to do with that too lol )
Hugs,
Suzan

Jackie said...

What a great idea!! Too often we forget to tell our kids that we are proud of them and why. You have the sweetest husband. What a nice thing for him to do for the kids and what nice memories of Jack.

Oh, and never throw away the "fat" underware.

L said...

I love getting to know other dimensions of the relationship you and Tim each had and still have with Jack. Love all four of you so much.

Anonymous said...

Oh Tim. What a beautifully simple, yet powerful thing to have done for your son. I love these letters--and am probably going to steal the idea for my own children.

love,
jbhat

Tara said...

What a beautiful idea! I had goosebumps reading some of the letters, what an amazing thing for your children, I can only imagine how special that would make them feel. I'm definitely filing this idea away for when my children are a bit older.

Loukia said...

This is the most beautiful thing I've read, Anna. How touching, and what an example of LOVE and family this shows. Jack was filled with love. My heart hurts. xoxo

zcan said...

Beautiful post, Anna. What a special tradition. Love you.

ScrappinLita said...

Beautiful! Sharing thoughts with loved ones is an extraordinary thing. It doesn't matter "how" it's done, just that it's done. You guys left no words unsaid. God bless you all.

Hetrick family said...

I love this.
That picture of Jack at the bottom made my breath catch in my throat.
I am so sorry for your loss.
What a boy.
What a love.

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

What wonderful letters! I have so many proud mama moments that I forget to tell my kids about, and they really do need to hear it. How lovely to have this tradition.

Jill said...

That is beautiful. I know Jack truly knew how much he was loved, and not every kid can say that. What a wonderful thing to have.

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense said...

This is absolutely beautiful. Your husband is just as eloquent as you are! My husband isn't much for writing, but I bet I could get him to this... Thank you so much for sharing!

Diane said...

Best thing I've read all week. Thank you so much for sharing.

Steph said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. What a wonderful thing for a father to do for his precious son. Wishing you all peace and love.

carolyn said...

Simply beautiful. I hope Tim got an extra big hug (or something) when he returned.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

these are amazing- a great tribute and reminder! so glad you found these and that tim wrote them!

Anonymous said...

Red,

Yellow,

Blue...

speechless.

NanaDiana said...

Who knew that these letters would contain a lifetime of memories for you? They are wonderful..bittersweet and wonderful. xo Diana

Salvimom said...

These letters are truly a wonderful blessing and a great idea that I would like to put into practice. Too many times we forget to tell our kids we're proud to be their parents...now they can carry those words with them continuously. Thank you for the great idea and I love your husbands' heartfelt words. Love, hugs and prayers from Seattle.

Ury

The Empress said...

THe fact that he kept these letters is a testament to their power. And to their saving grace.

They save your husband: letting him know he did good.

They save you: letting you know your boy felt so treasured.

I love this idea.

an apropos beginning said...

Wow. I love this. I think telling your children you are proud of them is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. I tell our daughter every night as I put her to bed. But, this is such a great way and special between a father and a son. And, I love how he uses such real examples...giving your sweet boy something tangible to relate his pride to. What a great way to build character and confidence. Will definitely be sharing this with my husband. Thank you!

melissa said...

I love your blog so much. it touches my heart every time. You are real and the love for your family is beautifully expressed. Please keep sharing.

Recovering Church Lady said...

These letters are amazing, the detailed examples he gave made them so powerful and a special keepsake for Jack. Now they are a treasured keepsake for you.

A Speckled Trout said...

Oh my, you both love so big.

Laura said...

Just another example of why I knew it was ok to keep YOU as my one and only read during my Lenten fast of all things internet.
Love and prayers ~ always.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

you know what i love about y'all, you live intentional lives, this is just beautiful, you are all blessed for so many reasons and now so are we!

Rach said...

What a wonderful idea!!! I think I may have to schedule something similar (or, okay, *just the same*).

Thank you for sharing not only the idea but those touching letters with us.

Hugs!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I can imagine the love that Jack felt from his dad with those letters. I think it is a wonderful idea and more people should try this. Also it should make Tim's heart grateful that he was able to express these emotions of pride to Jack. Thank you so much for sharing this.((HUGS))

ella said...

I love this for so many reasons.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful. You have a wonderful husband. Noticing the little things is really important.

Jamie said...

Beautiful

claire plante said...

Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful, loving letters with us. I am pretty much speechless except to say, again, thank you.

Love as always,
Claire

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Christen said...

Every time I read your blog, I'm struck by the love that radiates from it. What a wonderful idea to do this. What a beautiful family

Leeann said...

This is a beautiful, lovely idea and one that I am going to "steal" to use in my family.

I absolutely love your family, Anna. You guys are so beautiful, inside and out.

BTW, I pinned this blog entry to my Pinterest board with your blog credited, so if you start hearing from Pinners, it was from me. If you'd like me to take it down, please let me know.

Kristina P. said...

Jack clearly knew exactly how much you loved him. I'm sure he's smiling right now, thinking about them.

Meredith Self said...

I think my heart stopped. Yup, frozen in time. How beautiful.

Lori said...

Love this idea a lot! These letters your husband wrote are so precious. Every child would love to get even 1 letter like this from their dad. Thank you for sharing something so precious.

I pictured you sitting in Jacks room. I can only imagine. Praying and sending hugs.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

These are incredible letters of love to your son from an active, loving, caring father.

I love that you shared this tradition. And like Lori writes above, the thought of you sitting in Jack's room... such pain. I would give you a gentle, enveloping hug if I could...

Kristin said...

These letters were my "glimpse of God" for today. To think of all the people who go through life wishing to hear even one time that their parents are proud of them. What a blessing that Tim took the time to write these letters.

Pamela said...

Like many of your posts, these letters touch my heart. I can hear Tim's voice in them and imagine young hand holding the letters to read and reread them. And young shoulders standing a little taller.

Meg McCormick said...

I love this idea and I'm all weepy after reading these. What a treasure you discovered. I am sure Jack treasured these letters from his dad.

Lady Jennie said...

You have an amazing husband. I'm going to send this to my hubs (you know, for inspiration - not like I'm trying to control him or anything). ;-)

Momma Holmes said...

Beautiful.

Domestic Diva said...

LOVE the idea and love that you shared it with us! We can all get something from this! Your husband is a good man and father and I am sure Jack knew you both loved him so much!!!

OSMA said...

The specific examples Tim writes are so moving. It's one thing to say these things aloud to our children. It's another thing to write them down for them to hold, reread, and internalize. What a gift to give your children. What a treasure to share with us. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love this tradition. Those are something I know if I were a kid---I would keep throughout my life.

This is something I definitely want to adopt for my family. XO, NoVA Mom Jen

Heidi said...

Oh, Anna. This is just so beautiful, I can hardly breathe.
Thank you, thank you for sharing this.
How is the writing going? I think of you often. xo

Anonymous said...

God chose the ideal parents for Jack in you and Tim. Your boy had a taste of his heavenly Father's love through both of you. I imagine God has assigned him to some pretty special tasks in heaven. Jack had Christ-like attributes at such a young age. His precious heart is still probably reaching out and touching his heavenly family.May the Lord bless you and keep you. Sherri

Anonymous said...

Love this.

Lindsay said...

My friend Sally Grablick wrote the book "The Reason" upon losing her son. This was her post today and it made me think of your Jack.

The Reason
"Yesterday, I started a closet cleaning project. These tasks are never easy - because you never know what you'll stumble across or what the consequence will be - emotionally. I went into the storage closet intending to pull out Ryan's Lego's, but soon found myself up to my eyeballs in memories. What to keep? How much could I bear to part with? This was only the second time, in over 10 years, I’d had the courage to ventured down this path…I took my time, and soon realized that the thought of a little boy, lost in his imagination, building with those Lego’s was helping me to overcome my inner sadness. I found myself smiling as I pictured someone new, enjoying them as Ryan had. I packed away a few of the pieces my son had so proudly built, and then put the rest in a box for Nicholas - the new recipient. Moving through this exercise, at my own pace, was a great lesson in patience. If we are kind to ourselves, and take things as they come – rather than forcing ourselves through them prematurely – we will find some powerful healing amid the heartbreak of our loss."

Princess Kate said...

What a wonderful expression of love for Jack. I love you guys and think of you daily in my prayers.

Charlotte Klein said...

This is truly beautiful and a sweet, small gesture that really means so much. I'm sorry I haven't stopped by here in a while, but I want you to know I think of your family often and I always remember Jack.

XOXO sending much love and peace.

Dawn said...

What a great idea!

Kelly Pack said...

These are so precious! What a great idea. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Anna, I am late commenting but do want to say that I am so impressed with the content of the compliments Tim focused on. He stressed thoughtfulness, consideration, caring and dedication. No wonder Jack was so sweet and special! (I am sure you had something to do with that as well LOL!

Please take comfort in knowing that while Jack had a relatively short life, it was blessed by his having such wonderful, caring, devoted, loving parents. Some people live very long lives without experiencing that much love. Jack felt it every day of his life.

Blessings to you all,
Joan in PA

Tiffany Hebb said...

Anna
Thank you for always commenting on my blog and showing the love. I wanted to show that love back. What a great blog you have on parenting. Not sure if I asked you but would you mind telling my story or sharing my blog to make moms and dads aware of the washing machine dangers...PLEASE. It is saves one more child its worth it. Thank you Anna See. Xo
www.hebbsters.blogspot.com

Jessica Watson said...

I love this idea. I used to be much more of a note-writer and I need to go back to doing it. Thank you for the reminder and for sharing more of Jack with us through the eyes of his dad.

Kara said...

Tim's letters are beautiful, really beautiful. I am going to encourage my husband do the same thing. Lee's dad was killed in a car wreck 5 years ago, and he always said he kept hoping he would find a letter from his dad telling him how proud he was of him. What a blessing that Jack and Margaret had tangible reminders. Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

Your family remains in my prayers.

I'm so sorry for the losses mentioned in the comments.

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David Malone said...

Thats a great idea. We include a few sentences on birthday cards.

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We are a small operation (myself and my wife) but it’s amazing what you can do and how far you can reach with technology. We will never know the accidents we have prevented, or the lives we save, but that’s okay.

If you can spread the word in any way, please do and if you want any material for your blog, let me know. I think it would be a huge service to your subscribers and followers.

Thank you for reading this. Dave

Bluebird49 said...

Your Jack and Margaret are so lucky to have you and Tim for parents! Now Jack is with his Heavenly Father, and you have these wonderful letters that Tim was thoughtful enough to write to Jack and his sister. What wonderful gifts you have given them.

How wonderful of you to continue letting us know what you're up to--you are an amazing woman, Anna.

emily said...

This is such a great idea. We don't have kids yet, but I'm tucking this idea for when we do.

Leslie said...

I think I remember you writing about this before. I've always loved all of your family ideas. You and Tim are such fun parents, and loving parents, and not a day has passed without Jack and Margaret knowing they are loved. That sounds normal, or like what every family is probably like, but it's not- so many kids out there didn't grow up the way yours have. I'm so glad you found those letters again,Anna. What treasures you and Tim are as a parents.

Sharon @ Desert Willow Lane said...

Dear Anna, Thank you for sharing this. For keeping me grounded in what's really important in life. Not work. Not money. Not things. My kids and the people I love are what's most important. You always remind me of that and for that I am so grateful.

As always, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

AmyMak said...

You've inspired me to write to my children more, so they'll have these notes throughout their life. Thank you for being such good parents. Through it all. Much love and many prayers for you.