It started with my two cousins. We were so close that our aunt dubbed us (and still refers to us as) “the three musketeers,” but the 9 hour trip between our hometowns made spending time together a challenge. Letters became our way of bridging the gap.
We weren’t very good at it, to be honest. Our responses lagged, words sprouting slowly from fingertips. But still we plugged on, occasional letter after occasional letter.
See, there was something magic about letter-writing that eleven-year-old Emma understood, something she couldn’t quite put into words but chased anyways.
Eighteen-year-old Emma is still chasing it.
Caroline lives in New York City, sends artsy cards (but always overflows her writing to the back side) and writes with lots of exclamation points. Mckenzie from home writes sweet and simple, with wry little jokes thrown into unexpected places, just like how she talks. Madi from Chicago — well, Madi and I aren’t very good at keeping up, but her letters are silly and sweet and remind me of so many days spent romping through the streets of historic Savannah.
And in my desk drawer, I still have a folder full of every letter John sent me while he was in basic training — rushed jet-black words scribbled in the late hours of night on West Point letterhead, hasty details and military acronyms that I had to google, lopsided hearts in the margins.
There is a sweetness and an honesty to written mail, a vulnerability behind putting your life on paper. I hold onto these sheets of notebook paper because they are living proof of intention – they are acts of love, every single one of them.