Do you remember playing that game as a child? All of us sitting in a ring, most often at someone’s birthday party, with one person going around the outside of the ring with something akin to a letter in his hand and the rest of us chanting “I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it. Someone must have picked it up and put it in his pocket. It wasn’t you, it wasn’t you, it wasn’t you…” until someone was tagged “it was you!” and had to get up and sprint after the person who dropped the ‘letter’ and try and catch them before they sat in the empty space in the ring. (Repeat ad infinitum for purposes of a kids’ birthday party 🙂 )
Letter-writing is, however, so much more than a game. It’s an art. And there’s a reason why it is so often referred to nowadays as a lost art, given the instant communication we engage in, trying to say the most things in the least letters (but let me not get started on my pet peeve of text-speak…aaargghh!!!) I think you’ll struggle to find anyone in this world who doesn’t appreciate receiving a letter – the mere knowledge that someone somewhere took time to sit down and devote time to writing to YOU, and when time is the most valuable currency we have, I always find it an honour to receive a letter or a card.
Before any of you get carried away with wondering whether I’ve met my knight in shining armour given that I’ve referred to writing a letter to “my love” in the title of this blog, let me quickly say that alas, that has not happened yet. I have, however, written a letter to someone whom I love more than life itself. Let me explain. Another contribution from Nicky to The List was to “Write a letter to your niece filled with all the lessons you have loved learning for when she turns 40.. or 18, or 21 or 30“. And it was a no-brainer that I would follow through with this suggestion when it combines two of my loves (being my niece and writing).
In thinking about the letter to write to Abi, however, I realised that there is so much more that I want to say to her, than I can fit in just one letter. And about a wider variety of topics than only the lessons I have learned that I want to pass on to her. I’m sure you’ve picked up through my previous posts and, on a much more regular basis, through my Facebook posts how much I absolutely adore Abi, my princess.
I remember every minute of 26 January 2014 when I was waiting at the hospital for Abi to be born and then the miraculous moment of seeing Abi for the first time. A part of my heart melted at that exact moment – a part that would from then forevermore belong to Abi. I regard it as significant that I was the first person after Craig and Keri to hold Abi in my arms. And instinctively, the first thing I said to Abi as I looked into her precious face, was “I love you”. I knew then, as I know now, that Abi and I will always have a very special bond and relationship, and I intend guarding that fiercely.
So back to my letter to Abi. Despite knowing how special it is to receive handwritten letters, I decided to take a different approach given that I don’t just want to write one letter to Abi. I want to write a few – maybe 5, maybe 50, maybe 500 – who knows? But I want to be able to write a letter to her at any time, and about anything – so that when she is 18 or 21 or whenever the right time is, I can hand them over to her, and she can know how loved she has been and what a role she has played in my life. So, instead of handwritten notes, I decided that I’m going to email her from time to time.
This idea was clearly written in the stars some time ago (and way before the concept of The List came into being), because just after Abi was born I created an email account for her on gmail. I didn’t yet know what I was going to use it for, or whether I’d give it to her as soon as she was old enough to be emailing…I just didn’t know. But now – it’s perfect. I’m going to be using her email address to send emails to Abi from her Aunty Nix. And yes, I’m sure they’ll include some valuable lessons learned in life as initially proposed by Nicky for The List – but they’re certainly also going to include some other things that are more general, some recollections of funny, happy times, some sharing of emotions and thoughts, some encouragements, sometimes even feelings about disappointments – some things that I just want to tell her, so that she’ll one day have some more insight into her Aunty Nix and realise very clearly how loved she has always been by me!
And so it was that, last week, I went to the Grosvenor Seattle coffee (which you’ll remember from my last post “won” my best coffee in Bryanston project), and sat myself down with my “tall skinny cappuccino, in a takeaway cup, extra hot” and my laptop, and wrote my first email to Abi. And, with it being electronic, I could even attach a video clip to the email, which will no doubt embarrass her and make her giggle when she’s all grown up! And the email wasn’t about anything particularly spectacular – it was just a message from the heart for Abi from her Aunty Nix. So Abi’s inbox, as you can see below, now has one unread mail… the first of many….