Because the past few months have been so difficult, I’ve started to make pen pals of my own parents. Mes amis, sometimes the best way to write home is the oldest. It can be fun to receive an email. But more often receiving a physical letter is much more special! The best way is to simply send a letter without letting the recipient know they should expect it. My parents were supremely delighted.
Of course, they admitted to having a near heart attack when they first received an envelope with my handwriting and return address. “Your father put his head in his hands right away,” my mom wrote back. “‘She’s pregnant,’” he said. It was only a half-joke they acknowledged. They knew that my grandparents’ deaths hit me hard and that I’ve been living in a dark place. It was even harder for them. They know I’m still young and like to go out and hit the town for some fun. They know I take pride in my independence being single. I’m not the type to let some guy I barely know impregnate me, though.
Mom wrote that she was much more optimistic: “Maybe you eloped up in the LA mountains on a beautiful moonlit night. Or on the beach!”
These are translations of course. My parents don’t write in English, even though they can speak it well enough.
This has become an odd new tradition. My parents paid it forward to my still-living grandparents on my mother’s side, and they were pleased as well. We all agreed that we could use a more formal method of correspondence nowadays. Especially when some of us are too far away to travel back home — or when we don’t have the option at all because of COVID restrictions.
That’s my challenge to you! Pick up a pen and put it to paper. Write your loved ones. Or even write yourself. It can be cathartic to say things to people in a letter — even if you never send the letter!