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I Love All of You Best

© Catherine Ripplinger Fenwick

Our children are growing up and moving away. Some of them are moving far away. I talked to friend last week who has two daughters teaching in Japan. We discussed ways that we can keep in touch with our children and leave them with something they can hang on to.

I wanted my children to have something they can pick up and read, even after I am gone - something my children's children may be interested in. My aunt has a letter that was written by my grandmother. When I look at that letter, I feel a bond with this grandmother, who died before I was born. This letter makes her real and gives me insight into what life was like in the early 1900's.

I decided it was time for me to write a letter to my children, telling them what their presence means in my life and telling them a little about what it's like at the end of the 1900's. Hopefully, I could give them a seed of wisdom, lots of encouragement, and a sense of rootedness.

Each letter begins with a reflection on life as I see it today and includes a special message for each of them.

The following are excerpts from the letters:

It's not easy growing up at the end of the twentieth century. The world is in transition, again. There are major transformations taking place in society, economics, business, and politics. These changes are effecting all of us.

We are moving out of the industrial age into a new highly technological age, which doesn't even have a name yet. There is the internet, mass communication, globalization, an aging population and changing demographics. The future is hard to predict.

Many of your friends are living and working in other countries, Europe, Korea, Japan, Australia. I often wonder how you are coping with all of this, at a time when you are making decisions during great changes in your own lives. Maybe I can give you a little something to take with you that can help when things get confusing. No matter where you are, I am only an e-mail away.

I am proud and confident that the world is a better place because each of you is in it. Please note that I love each of you best.

First child, I love you best. You were the initiation, my first knowing of the power, joy, and incredible life-long commitment that comes with being "Mother". You were the beginning of my plans and hopes and dreams for the future. You are so knowing, so kind, so strong. Your greatest gift is the ability to walk freely and talk openly with people of all ages and stages of life. What wonderful things you will share!

Second child, I love you best. You extended my sense of power and commitment to parenting. You were the continuation of my plans and hopes and dreams. You are so gentle, so compassionate, so forgiving. Your greatest gift is your ability to commit to something worthwhile. You see what's important and do what needs to be done, with strength and determination. What wonderful things you will teach!

Third child, I love you best. You were third, which meant you had to work so hard to keep up, but you never stopped trying. You helped to keep my dreams alive. You are so inquisitive, so expressive, so full of joy. Your greatest gift is the strength of your convictions and your desire to be creative in expressing those convictions with freedom and dignity. What wonderful things you will create!

Fourth child, I love you best. You came last, so strong from the beginning. You kept me going when some of the dreams began to fade. You are so warm, so gentle, so caring. Not knowing what it's like to have a younger sister or brother, you always manage to hold your own. Your greatest gift is your curiosity and dependability. You continuously strive to be the best you can be. What wonderful things you will discover!

Two new people have joined my family and I love them best too.

Son-in-law, you came to me all grown up and I couldn't have done better myself. You are a kind and considerate partner in my daughter's life, and a wonderful father to my grandson. I appreciate your creativity and excellent teaching abilities.

Grandson, what a WOW experience! You initiated me to the esteemed role of Gramma and bring immeasurable joy to my life. You are a renewal of my hopes and dreams.

To all of you whether you live near or very far, you will always be in my mind and in my heart and long after I am gone, I will still be with you in spirit.

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