Why didn’t Mommy write letters?
I was taught to write letters when I was in the fourth grade. We were asked to think of someone and write them a letter. I chose to write to my grandmother in Germany. She would not be able to read it of course, but that was not the point and besides, my mom convinced me that my uncle, who still lived with Grandma at the time, would be able to translate for her.
“…I hope you are fine, because I am fine…"
So started most of my letters in those early years. My mom still teases me about that. But the wonderful thing was that writing letters was the most amazing discovery for me. I loved it. I became an avid letter writer. I wrote to family and friends and had more than a few international pen pals all through elementary and high school. I would feel so proud of myself when my mother’s friends and family would commend me on being the only way they could get word about my mother from Nigeria where we now lived. “Susan is the only one who stays in touch" they would say. And I would smile from ear to ear with pride. Then I would go further and say “I don’t know why she doesn’t write, I try to make her, but she won’t!" I would reprimand her for not writing to at least her mother or her best friend. “Well, I’ll never be like that!" I said haughtily, “I’ll never leave my family wondering how I’m doing…. " “ I will always write! Will always send Birthday cards and Christmas cards. Always!!"
When I first moved the New York 11 years ago, I kept my word. I wrote religiously and filled the family I’d left behind in on everything that I was seeing and experiencing. They once even said I did it so well, they felt they were here themselves.
I never missed Christmas. I would diligently choose the perfect Christmas cards and would take the time to write a special message for each and every one. It was not a chore, I loved it, I took real pleasure in it, and I would never give it up.
But a wise person once said “Never say never"
The last time I bought a pack of Christmas cards was 5 years ago. And I did not even use them all. I just sent out the last one of the pack this past Yuletide.
I started following my dream of being a successful working actress. Well, doing that does not pay bills…at least not right away. I had to have the day job too. Then there was the husband, and a failed marriage. You don’t want to write then because you don’t want to hear “I told you so"
Now there is the new husband and the baby and the cat and the film business and the day job and the home based business that is hopefully going to be paying all my bills soon. And I slump onto the bed at the end of the day “. . . write letters?. . . "
My mum had 4 children to raise. She worked a busy 9 – 5. Shuttled us between school, after school tutors and work, kept us in her office when we did not have school, drove everyday in the hideous traffic that turned a 35 minute ride into a 2 hour commute and then she would still help us with our homework and cook EVERY night.
“Well can’t she at least write at the weekends???" Well sure, right after taking us swimming, and to Karate, not to mention the laundry and housecleaning that was also done at the weekends.
If she found a moment, she would sit back with cup of coffee, a TV movie or CNN, and soon enough she would doze off…just to be woken up again in a few minutes by us barging through the living room or making demands of some sort.
“er…. write letters???. . . "
Mom, this is for you! I get it now!
I am growing my home based business to the point where I can work from home fulltime. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to rekindle some passions that the busy-ness of life robs us of. Maybe, just maybe, I might drop a line, perhaps a pretty card carefully picked out just to say I do care. Maybe, just maybe I can bring a little joy into your day, when you open the mail box and find love, not a bill. Maybe, I can teach my own children to appreciate this “ancient" form of communication, and maybe, just maybe, when I am asked what I am planning to do in my free time, I can again say… “write letters!"
Susan is a Coastal Vacations Director, and an actor/producer. She lives with her boyfriend and son in New York City.