Recently I stumbled upon some unread notes from my youngest daughter written to me quite some time ago. In discovering them, my heart was touched by how much our children need our small acts of love.
She had typed them into the Notes App on my phone, presumably thinking I would see them but not realizing I use this app very infrequently. Written when she was age ten, here is the first of three excerpts.
December 12, 2012
I love you so much daddy!…Thank you also for reading the Hobbit with me! I’ve been having a great time snuggling and reading with you! <3 Well, I should stop now…….<3 you again,
Love, your daughter, Celia
I do not share these notes to impress you with my parenting skills. Rather, these little emotional snapshots impress upon me, as I hope they may you, how young hearts cry out for attention from their parents and respond warmly when it is received.
Clearly snuggling to read The Hobbit was a theme, as was wanting just to do something with Daddy.
January 3, 2013
Hi daddy! I love you so much! Maybe we’ll be able to read the Hobbit tonight and snuggle! We also need to have a snowball fight!
Celia Marie York
The next note reminded me that the dates on them were the months before our move from Indiana to Pennsylvania over two years ago (Can it be that long already?). The following note shows how much the move was on her mind. After requests to do some of her favorite activities – which humorously includes getting Mom and me out of the house so she and her brother (and her dog Oscar) could have some fun – a few of the multitude of questions I remember her asking during those days follow.
April 8, 2013
How are you? I’m pretty good! Are you excited for the basketball game? I am but not as excited as Spencer. Can we shoot some hoops sometime soon or take a bike ride or something? Some night you and Mom should go out and Spency and Osky and I can stay here and have a kids night. When is the date of our move? Can we take my trees? How many feet are in an acre? It’s bigger than a mile right or no? How close to the Ohio river are we? Well, I should go!
I love you!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Celia Marie York~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Though we would have plenty of trees in the woods behind our new house, she still wanted to take some saplings she had been growing in planters from our yard in Indiana. So along with “Osky” and everything else, we packed the surviving tree in our van when we made the trip. Her grandfather helped her plant the little white oak in our yard next to the woods, which they circled with a small brick border. Though my little girl is now becoming a tall, young lady, every now and then she still likes to take me by the hand just to go look at her tree together. She does not realize how – in more ways than one – that quickly growing oak reminds me of her.
Thinking upon these notes and looking out the window at that tree, one other thought is impressed upon me. In this hardening, overly-sexualized generation, with so many calling us in one way or another to do something, let us remember one thing. When we are snuggling, reading, or going on bike rides with our sons and daughters, we are doing something. Something that, like planting a sapling, can over time provide beauty and shade for a coming generation. Something that, sadly, too many have never experienced.