Fathers and Daughters (alternate title: Watch your words)

When I was a teenager, I came across a letter that my dad had written to my mom when I was born. He was overseas when I was born, deployed to Korea. So the first time we met face-to-face, I was around 6 months.

At the time I discovered this letter, I was an awkward, self-conscious teenager with plum hair and white lipstick.

The feelings that swept over me as I read that letter stay with me to this day, and I’m sure that they have carried me through many hard times, as they built me up at that time, and surely sparked something that help reprogram me out of my teenage whatever it was

My parents were great at letting us know we were loved. Except for the New Years Day dinner my 9th grade year, they rarely fussed over my eclectic-ness. I know it drove them nuts that I wore clothes with holes in them and that I never ironed. Even still, there was a part of me – that part of a child who wonders how someone could ever love someone like them – that knew there must be some strings attached.

Reading this letter I realized that there were none. Seeing in ink, on that aged piece of paper, my father’s words, words of complete and utter joy, I knew without a doubt that I had always been and would always be: loved.

I’ve tucked that letter away into a safe place. But even if I never see it again, it was burned onto the memory of mind.

Beyond this – know that your words have an impact. Spoken or written. For better or worse – they are out there.

Make them count, so that they make a difference.

Comments

  1. You made our day. Thanks. We love you soooooo much.
    Mom and Pop

  2. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

    So true, Karla. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  3. Such truth. I'm very mindful of the fact that in my words are either life or death and I'm especially protective of what is spoken over my family. I've been feeling for weeks that I needed to start a letter to my son who is about to celebrate his first birthday. Thank you for the little push I needed to begin.

  4. AJ in Nashville says:

    You are so right, Karla, even when those written words are discovered 50 years later.

    A few years ago, my cousin gifted me with a letter that my Mom wrote to her Mother the day after I was born. The letter also involved my Aunt (which is why I'm assuming that it was discovered among my Aunt's things after *she* passed away), who was also due to give birth that day to my cousin Samantha that same day. My Mom was excitedly awaiting her sister's arrival at the hospital; she was booked to share the same room my Mom was in.

    Aside from its value just as an incredible slice of 1950s life and culture, in this letter I learned just how much I was loved — even if I wasn't the little girl my Mom and Dad were hoping for (I was 4th out of 5 boys she gave birth to — of which at least one of the last two were supposed to be a girl). Unfortunately, however, my Mom never got her 'Julie Ann' (not that I'm broken up over being a guy, mind you…).

    But what was so very special for me was the opportunity via this letter from Heaven to catch a glimpse of the person my Mother was, first hand; something I would never be able to do even as a child. My Mom began showing the effects of Early-Onset Alzheimer's disease at the age of 41 — just four years after I was born. I never had what I would consider an intelligent conversation with her. My only real memories of who she was are dark and profoundly sad. She was institutionalized when I was nine and died when I was twelve. I never knew her — not even a little bit.

    But now, this 'little bit' is good enough, because that letter is all I'll ever have. As you can imagine, it's one of the possessions I treasure the very most in my life right now.

    Thanks for reminding me of the importance of making sure our children know that they're loved, and the added importance of leaving behind physical evidence of the same.

    I love your blog; I love your spirit. Thanks again.

    AJ

  5. deb@birdonawire says:

    reading your post and your memories of growing up, takes me back to my own upbringing and reminds me how very much I miss my own daddy. From one who's been there…don't forget to tell your folks how very much you love them. everyday. There may come a day when you can't. And they need to know you do. You're a real blessing to me, Karla. Thanks for being my friend and my associate. I learn from you every day.

  6. :)

  7. This was a great post. Just in time for Father's Day!

    Check out my blog?

    -Sara
    the-poet-girl.blogspot.com

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