I’m not in the habit of making new year’s resolutions anymore, simply because it’s often discouraging that I never seem to follow through with them for longer than a week or so.
However, this year, Kyle and I were instead talking about our goals and hopes for the coming year. I decided that one thing I really wanted to do was read more. I’ve always been a lover of books, but in the age of technology, social media and smart phones, it seems like I use more of my spare time in that way.
While it wasn’t a resolution, I have enjoyed a little extra reading time before bed. After finishing a book I started months ago last year, I read the new Nicholas Sparks book I received as a Christmas gift. He’s my favorite author, and when I finished it, I wasn’t sure where to turn next.
In a way, I hated to buy some more books that I would only read one time, and I never managed to get to the library. So, one night, I was perusing our bookshelves for something I hadn’t read yet and stopped at Kyle’s collection of John Grisham books. My Grandma Nancy shared a love of Grisham books with Kyle and she often bought him the latest copy on holidays.
I selected one I hadn’t read yet and began turning the pages. It’s a pretty good read, and I’m really enjoying reading more this year.
One night I was flipping the pages (I’m sometimes a look-ahead-to-see-what’s-going-to-happen reader), and I found a note in my grandmother’s handwriting. I already knew she bought the book for him because she always wrote who it was for and who it was from on the first pages.
The note explained that she had hoped to get the book to Kyle before we left on our honeymoon to Italy, but she hadn’t gotten that done, so it awaited his arrival home. My part of the gift was that she filled the fridge with food so we wouldn’t have to worry about it when we were tired from jet lag.
Re-reading the note reminded me that she made an egg casserole and other goodies and we didn’t have to cook for several days.
But it also reminded me of my grandma, and that made me smile. Both of my grandmothers actually wrote me lots of letters over the years.
Although my Grandma Hutson died when I was just in junior high, she was one of my steadiest pen pals growing up. She only lived in Vandalia, but she knew how much I loved to get mail, and often wrote back and forth with me. Grandma Nancy was always writing thank you notes, and sent lots of really sweet cards when Grace was first born. I can’t say that I have saved them all, but I have a few special ones tucked away to remind me of some special ladies.
And these ladies are probably where I got my love of mail and writing letters. When Kyle and I first started dating, he asked me how much money I thought I spent at Hallmark every year, and my college roommate’s dad thought I single handedly kept the US Postal Service in business.
My Hallmark spending has gone down drastically with the closure of the Litchfield store, but I still send lots of cards with photos of my girls.
Sending notes was another way of surviving the pandemic this past year too. I wanted to send notes to friends I didn’t talk to enough anymore and let them know I was thinking about them. I sent pictures that Charley had colored in the mail to her grandmas and other family members.
And I have to say we have enjoyed receiving mail in return. I have passed on my love of mail to Charley, who loves to tear open all the cards as they arrive in the mailbox. We also have a special place on a closet door where we hang cards to enjoy them for a season, replacing them as new ones come.
But this past week was especially exciting. We got a card in the mail from a friend, who is one of Grace’s former physical therapists. We don’t get to see her anymore, but we keep in touch through email and cards.
When her card arrived in the mail, I knew Charley would want to open it, and I’m so glad I waited. As she started to tear the envelope off, she noticed something started to fall out of the card. Turns out it was glitter. A whole lot of glitter.
Amy told me that the card was called a “glitter bomb” and she was hoping Charley got to open the mail that day.
Once she figured out what was in the card, she happily dumped all the glitter onto the kitchen floor, proclaiming it to be the “best day ever.” She wriggled in it, got it all over her hands and feet and even tried to paint her dad’s face with it. But we’re lucky, he’s a pretty good sport about such things.
At one point, glitter stuck all over the bottom of her feet, Charley ran to another part of the house to get her princesses to play in the glitter. And I’m pretty sure we are going to be finding glitter all over our house for weeks and months to come.
But I actually told Amy that was the best part. Every time I found glitter stuck to the couch or caught in the carpet, I would think of her, and it would make me smile.
I think that’s why I like to send mail so much. I like to think that the recipient gets as much joy as I do in being thought of and remembered.
After all, sometimes it’s the smallest things in life that bring us the most joy.