“The Memory Box” By Susan Farr Fahncke
After having been settled in our new home for almost a year, I decided to finish unpacking the last few boxes. Hidden low in the stack was a box simply marked “Nick”. Excitement jolted my empty-nest heart upon seeing the name of my eldest son, who now lives eleven hundred miles away.
Delighted, I spent hours poring through the artwork, awards and report cards that propped my memory door wide open and let the days of his childhood come home.
I found his soccer “trading card” at age six and a Mother’s Day card from the year he was nine with coupons for extra chores, neck rubs, and breakfast in bed. I found an award Nick won in the second grade for top sales in a school fundraiser. First place in the entire elementary school. Even at the age of seven, he had a way with people. Next I found an envelope addressed to Nick in my own handwriting.
“For Nick to read when he is grown”, the envelope said. I have a tradition of writing letters to my kids at different times in their lives and saving them to read when they are older. This particular letter I had written to my son, now age twenty-one, was dated Mother’s Day fifteen years ago. He had been in kindergarten, and reading it brought back memories of a day I realized what a truly selfless, kind child I had been blessed with.
Today was Mother’s day. As I watch your beautiful sleeping face, I wanted to write this letter to give you later so you will always know how much joy you bring me.
You gave me the best present I’ve ever received today! It has a little story behind it that I will treasure forever. You have been diligently saving your allowance for weeks to buy some material for Grandma to make a teepee for you. You had $7.00 saved last week, but you asked me to take you to a nearby boutique where handmade crafts (which I love!) were sold. You were so cute, watching me as I looked at things, and if I liked something, you would ask how much it cost. We found an adorable little teddy bear with an antique lace collar and a ribbon tied around its neck and a ring attached. You pretended you loved it and even tried on the ring. You were very sneaky for a five year-old! You bought the bear all by yourself and said you were sorry, but you spent all your money and would just make me something for Mother’s Day. (I would have loved anything you made!)
This morning you woke me up with a big grin and a package wrapped in paper towels and duct tape. You were so proud and excited! There inside was the little bear that I will always treasure. You sacrificed your teepee for me.
I am so proud of your sweet, generous spirit and the many ways every single day that you bring me joy. You are truly special and I am honored to be your mom.
I still have the bear and the little ring. And Nick did get his teepee. I smile at the memories and place my letter for Nick in an envelope to mail to him. I hope reading it will remind him what a miracle he is and how blessed I feel to be his mother.
Also tucked inside the “Nick” box was a little Zip-lock baggie with a tiny baby tooth. “Nick’s first tooth,” was written in marker on the bag, and a folded piece of lined grade-school handwriting paper was stapled to the bag. I carefully removed the paper and read the note in his awkward, just-learning-how-to-write printing.
“Dear Tooth Fairy, I love you. Please leave me a lot of money.
From your best friend, Nick.
P.S. Don’t keep my tooth.”
I laughed until I cried. How I missed my little guy.
Now twenty-one, Nick has his own life and a fiancee. I know it won’t be long before he has children of his own. I pictured him with a little one on his knee, helping her write her first letter to the Tooth Fairy.
Each page in his school years book had a small school photo for that grade glued to it. If I flipped the pages fast, like a homemade cartoon flip-book, I could see the transformation from pre-school to a senior in high school. It was like watching him morph into an adult right before my eyes.
This unexpected trip down memory lane was the best way I could think of to spend my Saturday. This is one box I will never unpack and put away. It’s definitely one to keep close by and on days when my heart longs for my first-born, I will dig it out, open a box of tissues, and let the memories come home again.
Susan Farr-Fahncke copyright 2008
I am the founder of 2TheHeart.com and AngelsTheHeart.com! The story above can be found in a new book which I recently co-authored, titled "A Warm Cup of Kindness fo Mother". I also co-authored two other books in this series for Sisters and Friends. Please email me if you would like to order a signed copy of any of these books, or any of the books on my web page: www.2theheart.com/SusanFarrFahncke