celebrating friendship, establlishing rituals, friendship, letter writing, memories, mom, rituals, staying in touch
In her book, Living a Beautiful Life, Alexandra Stoddard states…”Creating daily rituals – making daily tasks into times of enrichment through planning and special personal details- is a way to live a richer, more satisfying life.”
My mother designed her life to be filled with meaningful rituals. Those personal rituals became as much a part of who my mom was as her genuine appreciation for life and her nickname, Mickey.
My father was in the Air Force and so my parents moved around more than most young couples. To say my mother was a people person is a serious understatement so you might imagine how difficult it was for her to repeatedly say good-bye to friends. Those were the days when long distance phone calls were quite expensive and e-mails were nonexistent. So, to stay in touch, my mother took up the task of letter writing. That undertaking (she would have never called it a task) became her letter writing ritual.
This writing ritual began before I was born. By the time I was old enough to really comprehend the level of her of commitment, she had been writing for over twenty years. It took two address books to hold all of her friend’s addresses and a small date book to keep track of the daily correspondence.
Each day, she would find time to sit, coffee in hand, surrounded by her stationary, note cards, and fancy address labels, and write to those people who meant so much to her. She sent joyful wishes, notes of sympathy, thoughts of encouragement, and holiday greetings. If an occasion had meaning for a friend, it had meaning for my mom and she sent her thoughts in a card. She relied on her Birthday Book to make sure no one’s special days were overlooked but she had spent so many years and so much time acknowledging those special days, that many of them were imbedded in her memory.
What had started as a simple way to stay in touch with long distance friends had turned into a personal and unique way of reminding friends, near and far, of their importance in her life. And in doing that, it had also allowed her to live a part of her life,everyday, dedicated to one of the values she held closest to her heart, the value of friendship. It’s no wonder that it brought her such joy.
I think it’s sad that we don’t write letters anymore. I’ll be the first person to admit I’m guilty. I cherish the letters I have that were from my grandparents to my parents. I even have some my great grandparents wrote to my grandfather and grandmother. Your mother was so admirable with her ritual. I’m sure the receivers of her letters were happy to hear from her.
I totally agree with you. Getting a letter is like receiving a little present in the mail. I always thought that I would continue her tradition but I have done a poor job of it. Went out to lunch with a friend for her BD, last week and she told me I’d sent her 2 cards!!! LOL But I did feel bad and just a bit incompetent!
Thank you, Susan, for always taking the time to comment.