My eight-year-old and I have started a new little tradition in an effort (on my part) to keep the lines of communication open and avoid secrecy as he gets older and closer to those dreaded teenage years.
We write letters to each other.
I bought a notebook (as an aside, there's something about a bound notebook that makes me really happy) and on the first page wrote a little letter telling him how much I love him, how proud I am of him, and why I was writing him a letter when we could just talk instead - so we could share things that were more private, or that we didn't have a chance to talk about during our busy days, or that we weren't sure how to say out loud . I invited him to write back, if he wanted. The next day the notebook was flipped to the second page and started with "Dear Mommy."
It was pretty superficial at first, a lot of "I love you's" and "today at school I did this or that." But after a few weeks of writing back and forth every couple of days it started to become a little deeper, particularly once I started sharing things like something that had made me really happy that day, or something I felt like I had messed up, or stories about when I was a kid. He's started to share little things that are bugging him, or how things make him feel, and this seems to be an outlet for all the stories he imagines and tries to tell me during the day but loses track of in his excitement to get them out.
I love this chance to get to know my little boy even better. I love learning about what's going on in his head. I love that this notebook will one day be a record of these moments in his life. I'm so happy with the idea of these little mother-son letters and I hope we're able to keep it up as my boy gets older and communication and honesty between us becomes even more important.
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