It has been so insightful participating in the handwriting challenge set by Officeworks’s as part of its Time to Write initiative. I haven’t written so much in years. I’m not alone...
According to a recent study by Deakin University and Officeworks, over 1/3 of Australians never or rarely write about personal thoughts, notes, ideas, feelings or memories. For those who do write, 7 in 10 people believe that handwriting helps them be more aware of their thoughts and feelings. What I’ve taken away from this challenge is wanting to foster a love of handwriting in my children. We’re all so glued to our digital devices and I want them to grow up writing by hand, not just scrolling Snapchat.
So I thought I’d start by penning a handwritten letter to my children. And I’m asking you to also put pen to paper and write a handwritten letter to your children too. Save it for a special occasion such as their 18th birthday. Treasure it until then. Read it from time to time. And don’t stop writing. I’ve typed up what I wrote here…
Dear Arabella and Lottie,
I wanted to write you a letter that you will treasure forever. No one ever writes anymore. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when you’re my age. So keep this letter and cherish it. And write your own letters. Don’t ever stop writing, please. That would be so sad. Write letters to your dear friends near and far. To your own children. To receive a handwritten letter is one of life’s great pleasures – never forget that.
I want to start off by telling you how much I love you. When I met you, I experienced a love deeper than any love I’ve ever experienced. You changed my life forever. You made me realise why I’m in this world. I always wanted to be a mother. My god, more than anything, I wanted to be a mother. I wanted it so badly. And I feel like the luckiest person alive to be your mother. It wasn’t easy to get here, but we made it. I want you to know I’ll always be here for you. Always.
You both came into the world early. Arabella, you came six weeks early. Lottie, you arrived seven weeks early. You both weighed 2.3 kilograms. Meeting you both were the two most magical moments of my life. I remember vividly holding you for the first time. You were so small and so perfect. Meeting the little lives that had lived inside me – I’ve never experienced anything that comes close to the exhilaration and love that rushed over me.
You were both taken away to the special care unit and placed in incubators. That was hard. I sat there with tears streaming down my face, looking at you covered in wires. I’d panic when your heartbeats would drop and the monitor would go off. You were a part of me, and suddenly, we were separated. Other mothers had their babies with them. I felt I’d let you down. I felt like there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t my body hold you in my womb for longer?
After you both arrived, the following weeks were a blur of driving back and forth to the hospital and trying to get you both to feed from me. And then, your Dad and I were given news that we could take you home. I cried and cried with happiness.
You were born 17 months apart and you are both so alike. As newborns, you didn’t sleep. You cried a lot. You both had reflux. There were times when I didn’t think I could cope. I was so sleep deprived and exhausted. I didn’t think I was cut out for motherhood. You both slept through the night for the first time at 10 months. And slowly, your Dad and I started to feel normal again. My mother (your nanny) often tells me I didn’t sleep well as a newborn, so maybe you’re just like your mama and your mind never stops ticking over. That’s a good thing! I hope you inherit your father’s patience and kindness. I’ve never had much patience. I hope you inherit my determination.
Lottie, after you arrived, I left my job in magazines to focus on raising you both and launched a website called The Grace Tales which focused on motherhood. I haven’t regretted leaving my magazine career behind for a minute, because I get the best job of all: seeing you both grow up. I get to do things like take you both to ballet or for a swim in the sea during the week, even if it means I often work late into the night to catch up on what I’ve missed in the day. I love my work and am deeply passionate about what I do. Running my own business isn’t easy, but it’s the right choice for our family.
As I write this, Arabella you are about to turn four, and Lottie, you are two and a half. You are both cheeky, confident, beautiful little girls. You light up my life. You challenge me more than I ever imagined. You press my buttons and push me to my limits, and then you turn around and melt my heart.
I also want you to remember that I’m your mother, but I’m also a person. I’m not perfect. There will be times you’re disappointed in me and times when I behave in ways you don’t like. Please forgive me. I’m not perfect. No one is – not your family and not your friends. Be kind. Be forgiving. What I can promise is that I’ll love you unconditionally.
I also want you to know that you’re unique. Maybe you’ll be academic or maybe like me, you’ll have a creative spirit. Whoever you are, just be you and be confident in who you are. You can achieve anything you set your mind to and always I’ll be there to remind you of that. And travel the world – there’s so much out there to see and life is short so make sure you get out there and open your eyes. And write about it. Never stop writing by hand.
I love you my darling girls, with all my heart, forever and ever.
Love Mum xx