Liv’s letters

“As I’m writing this, you’re just under 7 months old, you have two teeth, the biggest, most beautiful smile and just started to crawl and explore…”

Even with all of the things I do choose to blog, and how often I post, a large majority of my life remains unblogged. 

The family

There are the things that I choose to omit because I feel like no one would care about it (I always have to ask myself if something I find interesting or funny would be interesting or funny to anyone else)

and some personal things (the sad, hurtful, and amazing) I feel would be tainted by bringing them to the masses. Even when you have a semi-public life, I think there’s a beauty in keeping some things under wraps, just to enjoy with the people who mean so much to you, or to get through the hard times on your own. At the same time, there’s also an incredible benefit of asking for advice and sharing stories with many people who have been in similar situations, so it’s really a matter of picking and choosing what you feel comfortable putting out there.

I have quite a few favorite photos that I’ve saved just for Livi, because I want her to have some things that are just for her. She has a small treasure box in her room, filled with the notes that shower guests wrote to her,

Table

our hospital wristbands and name tags (which I’ll probably add to her baby book),

Babybook3

little gifts from when she was born, and the letters I’ve been writing to her. 

I think I either got this idea from Pinterest or Kelle Hampton (<– an incredible blog if you haven’t checked it out), but the envelopes are labeled:

-For the first time we get into a real argument

-For the first day of college

-For your wedding day

-For your high school graduation

-For your 16th birthday

-For the first time a boy breaks your heart

I’d like to add a few more, but that’s all that’s there for now – I’ll keep the letters stashed away until the times come to give them to her. I’ve written three (2 recently, one while I was pregnant), handwritten in my chicken scratch, and I hope she loves reading them later on. Even for the letters that will be given to her during tougher times (like the heartbreak and argument letters), I just hope she knows how much we truly love her and always have. I’m not in a hurry to finish them, and will probably take until she’s 10 to finish them all, but I just hope she enjoys reading words that were written to her when she was much younger. 

It’s interesting to think that most of many life milestones happen before children, and after that, your children’s milestones become your own. The day I got married, waiting with my dad to walk down the aisle, I remember thinking to myself “this is the day you’ve wondered about since you were little. It’s really here.” It’s so crazy to think about Liv getting married one day. For now, she can just stay an itty baby forever πŸ˜‰

When we first moved to Valdosta, I had a really hard time adjusting. I felt pretty hopeless since I couldn’t get a finance job, Tom was working so much (and about to deploy), I hadn’t made friends yet, Viesa and Bella were fighting- it was rough. In one of the care packages (tamales!) that mom and nana sent, my mom wrote me a long letter basically telling me she was proud of me and to hang in there. I remember sitting on the floor to read it and crying, because it was everything I needed to hear at that moment- I still have it. 

Any letters you think I should add? Did your parents write you notes or letters? When I worked at a summer camp over the summers, I loved seeing the lunches that had notes written inside or were decorated with stickers- so cute.

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78 Comments

  1. kerry on August 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    this is such a lovely idea and i never really thought about it! I wanted to do a baby book but i havent actually started that yet and i’m nearly in my 3rd trimester! I have been keeping notes of how ive felt and what we’ve done each week in a little note book but i need to transfer it all into a proper baby book! x

  2. Michaela on August 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    My Dad has kept a daily ‘kid’ journal since the day I was born, including my twin siblings once they were born, and he wrote in it everyday until the twins left the nest. My mom is in the process of compiling all journals into a book for all three of us. One of the most precious gifts ever! Those kinds of letters are great and I know she’ll love ’em when the time comes!

  3. Sarah on August 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    What a wonderful idea! As ridiculous as it sounds, I made a Facebook page for my little Elias when he was born. It’s private and I don’t accept friend requests, but I use it to tag pictures of him in my uploads as well as others, and to send him little messages when fun stuff happens. I can do it very quickly from my phone and be sure not to forget. I’m so terrible with scrapbooking and photo albums, so at least this way I have things dated, organized, and milestones kept track up, so when that day when I do sit down to create a more lovely collection for him, it’s not an impossible task.

    I love the idea of handwritten letters though. Think I’ll have to do that πŸ™‚

    Congrats on your beautiful family, Gina. It’s been such a pleasure to watch you guys grow over the past few years!

    • Jess on August 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      This is such a clever idea!

  4. Melissa on August 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I LOVE this idea! Livi will treasure them forever, and I love the idea of something sweet and sentimental to soften the blows life will inevitably throw at her.

    When Maya was born, my brother gave us 18 letters for her to open–one on each birthday. I can’t wait to see what’s inside of them, but we’re waiting! We opened the first on her first birthday (12/18/2011) and can’t wait for the rest.

    What a beautiful, beautiful idea. Borrowing πŸ™‚

  5. Jenny on August 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I know this is SO morbid, but maybe a letter for an accident that could happen πŸ™ My dad wrote a letter to me when I was just 6 or so and he ended up dying when I was 12. I was so sad, but finding out he had written one last letter to me has meant the world. It is stained with my tears throughout the years.
    On a lighter note, my mom always writes letters to me saying she is proud of me even though I’m in my 20s. I think it’s such a beautiful thing what you’re doing, Liv will always feel so loved!

  6. ellie on August 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    such a lovely idea. I will definatly be doing something like this when i start to hace children. It’s such a lovely way for you both to look back on moments in each others lives!
    X

  7. Dynamics on August 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    My mom took pictures of my daughter’s toys. It is amazing how many toys are still around from generation to generation. She also has a box of “special” toys to give to my girls when they have their first babies some day in the future. Pictures are sometimes just as good as the real thing. With the digital age, I have taken pictures of art projects and clothing/hair styles. Some day I will put it all together in a book. Until then, a nice box will do. I also bought my mom a “grandparents” book to log. Similar to a baby book but for grandmas to add their thoughts. To add their stories. I love stories from my mom and grandmom.

  8. Abby on August 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    This is such a beautiful idea! I’m totally going to steal it!

  9. Liz @ Southern Charm on August 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    LOVE this idea!!

  10. Chelsea on August 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    A letter for when SHE becomes a momma :)!

  11. Olivia on August 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Maybe change the letter “For the first time a boy breaks your heart” to “For the first time someone breaks your heart”? What if Livi is a lesbian?

    • Beth on August 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

      I thought the same thing! Right on.

    • Katie on August 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

      I second that!

      And this is such an amazing idea. πŸ™‚

  12. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because on August 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    What a sweet idea!

    Maybe a letter for the first time you hear her express something negatively about her body, like if she says she hates her hair or feels fat.

    • Julie on August 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Oh this is a good one!

  13. char eats greens on August 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Letters are so powerful. I’m just pregnant now, but I’ve already wrote the baby a few letters, letting it (sorry- I call it ‘it’ sometimes because we’re not finding out the sex! haha) know the first time I felt a a kick, info about appointments, like first midwife appointment, and just telling it about everyday stuff that’s happening!!

    I remember in high school one of my teacher’s saying he did that when his wife was pregnant, and since then, I loved the idea and wanted to do it when I became pregnant. I know it’s something I would have loved to experience, which is why I decided to do it!!

    I think Liv will appreciate all the things you are doing for her too!! Baby’s are just so special πŸ˜‰

    • char eats greens on August 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      I swear my grammar has just flown out the window since becoming pregnant! So don’t mind the horrible response haha

  14. Kristen on August 6, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Livi will love this when she’s older!
    I’ve been writing my son a letter for every month during the first year. I’m writing his 5 month letter tonight! I just write what he’s accomplished that month and little (MAJOR TO ME) things that have happened that have made that month special. After the first year I’ll probably just do it every so often, maybe each birthday? I also keep a little diary for myself to write down funny (getting peed on) and not-so-funny (up all night fussing) stories to look back on in the future.
    I LOVE the idea of writing letters now for the future. I’m definitely going to do that!

  15. Catherine Crain on August 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I def think adding a letter about facing the cruelness the world can present with beauty, strength, and grace would be a good idea. As a young 20-something, I’m in the point of my life where my eyes are really being opened and I have to stand my ground on my morals and beliefs & not go w/ the ways of the world. I’m not sure what you could title the letter exactly, maybe even just something like “when the world seems against you”. I feel like that could be a letter that is looked back upon by Liv many times πŸ™‚

  16. Averie @ Averie Cooks on August 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I didn’t write letters but wish I had! Great idea!

    And love the opening pic of the 3 of you πŸ™‚

  17. Lindsay on August 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I recently found a letter my dad had written me when my parents were getting divorced. It was along the lines of “you’ll always be my daughter, and I’ll always be your Daddy, nothing can change that”. I don’t remember receiving it at the time (I was only 8) but re-reading it now was special, because my dad and I still have a very close relationship. I like the idea of giving her letters that she may not understand at the time (oh teenagers!) but can keep and maybe look back on in a couple years and say, “ya know, mom was right!”

  18. Jenn on August 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I love to collect quotes – if I’m watching a tv show or movie, hear a song lyric, or am perusing the internet and see something interesting/inspiring/awing, i write it in this large journal. For now, reading through them helps ME through all life throws at me, but it’s my grand plan to hand it down to my daughter when she heads to college. If it turns out I end up with all sons, I have a cute baby niece I can give it to πŸ˜› It’s kind of fun and exciting to know that someday the words you said/wrote now might be just the words someone you love will need to hear/read in 20 years. <3

  19. Laura on August 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    And you’ve brought this 38 week pregnant momma to be to tears with these awesome letters! What a wonderfully sweet idea! My husband started an email account for our little girl and I have written to her there but the idea of having certain milestones in mind seems extra special. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Kristen on August 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      We also did that for our son. I send him pictures and stories of things he does!

  20. Jodi on August 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher had us write a letter to ourselves that she mailed to us when we graduated high school. Low and behold, the June that I graduated high school, I got a letter in the mail that I completely forgot about. I was blown away. It was cazy to see what was important to me in 6th grade vs. at age 18, and read my former self’s thoughts and emotions. I emailed my teacher (who included her email address with the letter she sent) and we caught up on what was going on in my life at 18. It was so awesome to reminisce.

    • Azka on August 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      What a cool teacher!

  21. Azka on August 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I’m going to chime in – what a lovely idea! I’ve only written one letter to my baby – from my pregnancy, when we were on our baby moon in Jamaica. I couldn’t commit to something as grand as a series, so I’ve been writing down things for him in my Mom’s One Line a Day diary.
    But what I really want to say is that I am often astounded by how many things you manage to stay on top of, and how well you’ve kept sight of the things that matter the most to you. 9 months on, I am still struggling with keeping my priorities straight and my mind untangled. You’re doing a great job, Gina!

  22. Brittany on August 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I was flying alone for the first time to visit my aunt in Atlanta, GA when I was 13. I was really nervous about the flight so the night before my mom wrote me four letters. they were all labled, when you get to your seat, 1 hour in, 2 hours in, when you land. It was so nice for me to know that she was thinking about me. It was also something that kept me occupied on the plane. I was always thinking “when can I open my next letter?” For all you parents who have kids who are flying alone somewhere, I STRONGLY advise you to do this. It helped me so much and now I love flying alone!
    P.S I think the letter in the packet “the first time a boy breaks your heart” you need to add “and sweetie, I’ll keep your father from flying his plane into that boys house!”

  23. Christina Marie on August 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    My mom wrote me a letter when she got cancer. I was 5 at the time and found it when I was cleaning the basement at about 20. I bawled the whole time I read it. Luckily she was fine (still cancer free 25 years later) but it was really powerful seeing all of her hopes and dreams for me at a time when she didn’t know if she’d be able to partake in them.

    • Kayla on August 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      Okay, I’m crying! How amazing, and so happy your mom’s cancer free!

  24. Marie on August 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I have a private blog that my husband created the first few months after we had our twins. I try to add pictures and write daily. They will be 5 this November and I love looking back on old posts. Since it’s private, there is no pressure and I can write from my heart. It’s also an easy way to send pics to our huge family. For the first year or so, I did a post every month that I titled, “10 Things I Love About You,” and would make a list of 10 things for my son and another ten for my daughter. I also included a love letter for each. They change so much at that age so there were always new favorites. Now, I just write a letter to them on their birthday.

  25. JennP on August 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    My dad is a super awesome, intelligent, sensitive guy, but he has trouble putting things into words sometimes, so he has always taken to writing me letters! I have a box of letters he’s written me throughout my life. I’ve got 10th birthday, 16th birthday, the day I left for college, wedding day, the day we brought my daughter home from the NICU and a few other random ones. I wish he’d thought to start them when I was a baby – I would love to look back on what was going through his 24 year old brain at the time!!

    My mom is such an open book that I always know what she’s thinking/feeling. It’s really cool to have them from my dad, who is a little bit more of a private person.

  26. Jen Villa on August 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I don’t know if it is hormones (my son was born two weeks ago) but I’m in tears reading this post. What an AMAZING idea. My mom use to leave notes in our lunch boxes every once in a while and it was always AWESOME to find them. I even started leaving notes in my husband’s lunch bag when I’d put it together and I know he always appreciated them.

    Your daughter is so lucky to have you! You are doing such a great job!

  27. Beks on August 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    My mom didn’t write letters like you’re doing for Livi, but she did write letters for my sis and I when we went to church camp. She gave it to our chaperones give to us throughout the week. As a kid who’d never been away from home before, I thought it helped ease me in the transition.

  28. Kaitlyn @ Keeping up with Kaitlyn on August 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I LOVE this idea!!!! I wish I had something like this! If I’m ever blessed enough to have children of my own, I’m definitely going to do this! What a great thing for Livi to treasure forever!!

  29. Amy on August 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Aww, I love this! I have a Word document that I used to add to weekly, until my son was close to a year old. Now I write in it about once a month, but it’s about 15 pages long. Eventually, I’ll print it for him to read and save. It’s a way for me to document things I might otherwise forget and a way for him to see how much I loved/love him.

  30. Marci on August 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    You are such a cool mom. πŸ™‚

  31. Ali on August 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I set up an email address for my son when he was 5 weeks old. It was more convenient to type a letter than writing in a journal. It came in handy during late night feelings. I send him an email when he turns a new month and attach a photo. I also send him emails with milestones he has reached or funny things he has done, or thoughts I have of him (like what he will be when he grows up, what type of man I can see him becoming). I like knowing he will always have access to it and it can never get lost. The specific letters are a great idea though. I think I will incorporate that. πŸ™‚

  32. Leslie on August 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    What a lovely idea. I wrote in my boys baby books about the love I felt for them. I wish I had done more. Your letters are such a sweet thing to do. I intend to write letters for my granddaughters.(they are 9 and 7) I am inspired to write about the love I have for them and what kind of little girls they are, things we’ve done together, etc. I might write a “to be read on your wedding day” letter. Thank you for the inspiration.
    You are such a sweet mom. The love you have for Livi and your family is so apparent. Thank you for your blog. I enjoy it so much. Have a blessed day!

  33. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I love the idea of letters. My parents never really wrote me letters, just the usual birthday/holiday cards, but my last birthday my mom sent me a card just from her with a special little note. She told me that her and my grandma did this, and it’s something I hope to do with my own daughter when I have children.

  34. Heather on August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    My mom kept a book of poems, that my brother currently has, and in the middle there are two letters, one for each of us. I used to read mine as a kid and not really think anything of it but then my mom passed away when I was 12 and that letter became so much more to me. Letters are so special because it shows the other person that you took the time and put your thoughts and feelings into words on paper, it really can be so powerful. I think what you’re doing is awesome and I’m sure she would love reading them over and over throughout the years. Maybe you could make some videos for her too, instead of writing the letter on paper, say it in a video. πŸ™‚

  35. Sarah on August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    My husband and I plan to each write our baby a letter on her birthday every year (she will be 1 in 12 days!). I want to keep the letters stored for her each year until she reaches a certain age. My father passed away when I was 25, and I was sad that there wasn’t a note or anything to remember him by. I hope that Jenna will appreciate these letters in future years when we may not be around!

  36. Dianette Diaz on August 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Such a beautiful idea, teared up reading it πŸ™‚

  37. Maria on August 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    This is an awesome idea πŸ™‚ My mom kind of did the same thing. She gave me a letter when I turned 16, high school graduation day and on my wedding day. I also have the first letter she wrote me while I was at BMT in Texas. It’s an awesome idea and something Liv with cherish. I definitely need to write one while I’m pregnant and I hope to write one at the hospital while I’m laboring, we’ll see how that goes though. Maybe shortly after the baby’s born.

  38. Caryln@CarylnRambles on August 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    A few months after I was born my dad was deployed overseas. He wrote a note to me that I still have to this day and makes me teary eyed every time I read it. When I was in high school he took a job where he would be working in Chicago (we lived in Fayetteville, NC) for a year and only able to see us one weekend a month. He wrote me a note the day he left and I also saved that one. I know that Livi will cherish these notes as much as I have!

  39. Lauren on August 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    This is an absolutely precious idea, and something I’m sure she will appreciate when she’s older! Definitely going to tuck this idea away for someday.

  40. RachelG on August 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    My dad wrote me a note in a poetry book and having the note makes the book even more special. I strongly recommend. πŸ™‚

  41. Christine on August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I love this idea! I know growing up I struggled with loving myself for who I was and to this day still struggle quite a bit. However, its the touching words that people who I love and care about have given me that has kept me going and I think it would have been great to have that in letter form. You sound like an amazing mom!

  42. Becky @ TheBexFactor.com on August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    My mom always wrote me letters in my birthday and Christmas cards, big occasions such as graduations, etc. Also if we were going through a difficult time together, arguing or whatnot, we would write out our feelings in letters because we both communicate better in writing. I think writing letters to Liv like you are is a great idea.

  43. Stephanie @ The Travelling Tastebuds on August 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Wow… I really love the letters idea! When I have children (probably only for the girls)… I’d love to do something similar. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  44. Nicole on August 7, 2012 at 12:34 am

    love love love this post.

  45. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on August 7, 2012 at 1:01 am

    what an amazing idea. this will be such a special gift for Livi when she’s older:)

  46. Katie on August 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

    What a lucky baby πŸ™‚ These are awesome ideas Gina and I’m a little sad I didn’t have this sort of advice/support growing up. The only thing I’d worry about with what you have already is the letter for”boy breaks your heart.” I would make that “someone breaks your heart” just in case Liv isn’t heterosexual. Would hate for her to feel like she is odd or isn’t what you two expected her to be, you know? That’s the roughest feeling for a teenager. Anyway, these sound fun to write, and I’ll definitely think about writing some for my bambinos πŸ™‚

    • Julie on August 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

      VERY good point!

  47. Lissy on August 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Your family sounds, um, sweeter? than mine.
    If my mom and I had an argument and she handed me some sappy letter about how much she loved me and stuff I probably would have been like, wtf? and torn it up and said something like I wish I was never born or whatever would hurt her most at the moment.

  48. Kristin M. on August 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Love this post. I had written two letters for my baby girl while I was pregnant and then another one when she turned 5 months old…just b/c i wanted her to know when she’s older just how much she is loved and wanted. But I never thought to write her letters to give her for specific milestones and I LOVE that idea! Have to borrrow that :-). The only letter I can remember receiving from my parents was when I moved in with my husband before we were engaged or married. My father is VERY old fashioned so he wrote me a very endearing letter in attempt to make me change my mind. It was so sweet and definitely made me cry but I followed my heart and moved in with him anyway lol. We’ve been married for 3 years now and I just gave birth to my father’s first grandchild this past January. I would say it all worked out :-).

  49. Julie on August 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

    What a lovely idea! I used to write my daughter notes on her napkin in her lunchbox every day during elementary school. πŸ™‚

    Maybe one for “The 1st time a friend lets you down.” πŸ™

  50. Kristin M. on August 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Oh and I just thought of a letter you may want to add….perhaps a letter for when she has a baby of her own?

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