Earlier today I shared my suggestions for graduation gifts, but I wanted to also share this idea. Again. I know I’ve already blogged about it quite a few times, however, it’s such a meaningful and thoughtful gift, I just can’t help but share it over and over again. (I think every graduate should receive this!)
That little bundle of letters up there? On the night of my high school graduation, I went to my bedroom after dinner to find a giant envelope filled with letters. My mom had been working for months to collect notes from people who have known me throughout my life. People who had really impacted my life in a meaningful way. Favorite babysitters, teachers and principals, friends…
Opening those letters that night was so special. (I cried a lot.) It made me reflect that I was not a singular person on my own, but instead a person who had been built and shaped by amazing people in my life. I am who I am because of those people and I carry a little fingerprint of theirs wherever I go.
Graduation night, the letters meant a lot… but it wasn’t until I was at school (and seriously struggling) that the letters took on a whole new, deeper meaning. Rereading the letters– or simply seeing the bound stack on my desk– reminded me that I was never truly alone, that I had people “in my corner” rooting for my success.
To pull off the thoughtful surprise, my mom did some serious planning. She wrote a list of the special people and sent each of them an envelope. Inside the envelope was a note explaining what she was up to (ha) and stationery with a pre-addressed + stamped envelope. (The real trick was collecting the letters in the mail before I got to them!)
I received letters from:
The owner of my favorite store
Babysitters from Atlanta (age 0-4) & Boston (age 4-8)
High school coaches
Parents of close friends
Middle school SADD mentor
Best friend’s mom
My best friend in the entire world
6th grade math teacher
The person who interviewed me for Georgetown
Elementary school principal
Super close friends
AP Physics teacher
9th grade English teacher
Ex-boyfriend (… but actually.)
The letters were long, short, poems, old photographs, drawings I had given the person when I was a kid, newspaper clippings they kept. It ended up being kind of like a mini time capsule of sorts.
One of the letters:
“Carly, I’ve never quite met a girl like you. Yes, that is a good thing. Despite only knowing you since my senior year it feels like so much longer. I’ve seen you turn into a truly wonderful young lady and a real bitch of a coxswain. And, yes, that also is a good thing. Remember in college to keep your fists up, stick to your guns, and don’t let anybody change you. You’re already perfect to me. Take care in the year ahead, I know you’ll do great. If you ever need anything my phone is always on. I will always pick up….”
My babysitter kept all of our drawings and she sent me one. 1996?!
What’s the most thoughtful gift you’ve ever received?