Our lovely intern Margaux recently shared a remembrance of her mother Kim, recounting the ways she inspired her to embrace her dreams and walk through life confidently. We’re lucky to have Margaux here again with more tales of her mother’s influence.
Her post makes me want to stop everything and write my girlies a nice, long note. After reading it, chances are, you’ll want to do the same for your littles… Enjoy.
By Margaux Anbouba
My love affair with writing goes back to childhood. Whether it was my own (I kept a diary up to my last day of high school), the stories of others, or letters I received in the mail, I endlessly craved the written word. The cards and letters I received for birthdays, holidays, or just because were always my favorite – it was so significant to me that somebody would take the time to write me a message.
For me, sending letters has always been a sign of how much you care for somebody. Through putting your feelings into words, you are giving the recipient a tangible keepsake of your love. These letters meant so much to me that I have collected them over time. My closet is now filled with boxes upon boxes of every birthday card, Christmas greeting, or random letter than anybody has ever sent me. When I’m bored, I pull them out – each letter reminds me of a happy time and place in my life.
One of the reasons I love writing so much is because of my mother. We had a “card box” at our house, stocked with funny, sentimental and celebratory cards that could be sent at a moments notice. When I away at college, she would send me monthly letters, filled with my favorite comic from the newspaper (Love is. . . ) and words of encouragement. While these cards were significant at the time because of they way they encouraged me, since my mother’s death they have become priceless.
For my twenty-first birthday, I wanted a celebration with all of my friends from school, which meant returning to Memphis to be with them. At the time, my mom, between surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, was too weak to make the journey. But she was still there – through the form of a letter. Half way through the celebration, my boyfriend Patrick read me a beautiful letter my mother had given him for me. In this letter, I was reminded of how special our relationship was, regardless of the distance between us. I still have the letter today, which I read on my twenty-second birthday, my first birthday without her. Through reading it I was transported not only back to the happy times of my birthday party, but also to the feeling of having her close even when she isn’t.
After my mother’s diagnosis, family gatherings became even more significant. I wanted every one to be perfect, in case it was our last one together (which was something very hard to admit to myself). At Easter, we gathered around the table, where my mother had placed little red boxes at each of the seats. We opened them to find a jewel encrusted egg, which opened to reveal a note inside. Since that day, the egg had sat on my desk, a pretty bauble that I didn’t think much of. I honestly had forgotten about it, and the message inside, until I was cleaning out my desk to move into a new apartment. There it was – the note my mother had left me. It was such a beautiful surprise. While the message was simple (“I love you, Margaux – Love, Mom”), it was all I needed to hear. That egg has now followed me to my new apartment and now sits on a shelf next to a portrait of my mother and me.
In my new apartment I was faced with a lot of empty space and no clue of what to do with it. While slowly unpacking photos to hang, I stumbled upon one of my favorite letters my mother wrote me while at college. It was filled with so much encouragement, as well as love, which was the reason I had kept it close to me for the remainder of my time at school. This letter is now hanging on my fridge, and I read it every morning. It’s a reminder of how much she believed in me, and how even though she isn’t here in my every day life, I can still be reminded of it every day.
All of the feelings that the cards and letters my mother wrote me are reasons why I want to encourage you: write to your children. There are so many ways you can do it – a journal you keep of their daily activity, funny anecdotes, messages inside their favorite books, or a letter to celebrate every year of their life. Because one day, your children will look back and cherish these cards and the memories associated with them. It means so much to me to be able to touch the paper my mother carefully chose, see her handwriting, and hear her voice in my head reading the letters to me. It’s a connection to her that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life and a tradition that I’ll continue.