The Gift of a Lifetime

Lately, I’ve been reading Dr. Jenn’s blog, which is loaded with great advice for moms of teenage daughters, and I think she has a terrific idea for the holidays that can be adapted for sons and dads, too! I have to admit that when I first read it, I regretted that I hadn’t done this for my own children. (I might just create the adult-child version!)

If you are racking your brains for one (more) perfect gift while still being conscious about and/or affected by the financial state of the world, consider this no-cost item: a “You are Precious Gift!” letter (the exact title and details can be amended to fit the age and sex of the child). It reminds me of the Master Card commercial that ends with the value of the gift being labeled: “priceless.”

Write a letter to your daughter or son. In it, describe his or her existence from the very beginning — express your thoughts about your (or your spouse’s) pregnancy or your eager wait for their arrival; your hopes and dreams, your unbounded love and enormous anticipation for this baby. Share your most intimate memories from the start of life through babyhood and childhood, right up to this moment. Include your vivid description of their developing personality and the awe you felt as they evolved as individuals. Name the traits that best describe them so that they know unequivocally that they are appreciated for who they are. Talk about what you love the most about them, so they can begin to see themselves from another’s perspective. Include a few of your favorite anecdotes of their growing up.

And make sure to end the letter with a call to action: a thank you, a promise, a hope, a commitment, a goal, a vision of the future (help your child picture success). Write the letter by hand! It will become a precious memento through the years and a personal remembrance of you: perhaps your lipstick S.W.A.K. (Moms) or the scent of your after-shave (Dads); most definitely, though, your handwriting, your creativity…. Then package it in holiday wrap that underscores your overarching sentiment: there has never been another “you,” and what a gift you are to me.

If you are looking for some inspiration, read “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman. You might even tuck your letter into the book and include it in your present, as it begins, “On the night you were born, the whole world came alive with thanksgiving… you brought wonder and magic to the world.” (Please note that the words resonate equally, regardless of how your child entered the world – in the words of one reviewer, it was perfect for her daughter who was “born in my heart and in another mother’s tummy.”)

The storybook can reinforce your personalized tribute: “Here is a book [letter] that celebrates you. It is meant to be carried wherever life takes you, over all the roads, through all the years.”

I leave you with this thought, along with holiday wishes for happiness, personal fulfillment, and world peace – this book is the bedtime story to end all bedtime stories. And your letter can be the cherished gift to end all cherished gifts!

Tuck-in Tips