Moving Monday: The Gift of Story

We are sitting very much “in between” these days, and feeling more and more in-between-y by the minute. Everything is in flux, but somehow at the same time nothing much is changing just now. There are a few more boxes, a few more things on the to do list, a few things checked off, but for the most part we’re not dealing with any major decisions or actions this week.

I’ve started working on a small project that isn’t specifically moving related… and yet, as I’m gradually realizing, it’s completely moving related.

Who’s in your story?

My older son will reach a Big Birthday Milestone this fall, just a couple of weeks after our move. Because of—you know, 2020—he won’t be able to celebrate with his old friends here. He won’t be making any new friends–at least in person–until spring (and hopefully then!).

In his almost 16 years, he has had six hometowns… seven, after this upcoming move. I frequently consider ditching Facebook, but I don’t because my friends list is full of the people who knew and loved my children when the boys were small, in all those many hometowns. The boys don’t remember, but I do. I want those friends to stay connected to our story, even in the small, slight way of Facebook friendship.

I want to stay connected to those friends because they shared in our story.

But my son doesn’t remember or realize how many people are part of his story. The friends who took care of him when he was very little, or were excited to see him in church on Sunday mornings, or helped him when he was first learning to love being on stage. Those friends live in places we may never visit again. It’s sad to think of, but that’s the moving life.

The gift of a story.

We won’t be having a big 16th birthday party this year. And he’s for sure not getting a car. But as he edges into adulthood, I can give him the gift of his own story. So I’ve asked the people who knew him and loved him—and some people who have never met my child but loved us so well—to write a letter of memories and blessing for him on this very strange birthday.

I can give him the gift of memories, even from when he was too little to have his own. Everyone who writes will be giving him that gift.

It may not look quite so dramatic, but I hope my son might feel just a little like Judge Harper, there; overwhelmed by the number of people who care enough to put a stamp on an envelope, and to take a few minutes to write an encouraging word.

Call to action: Write. Stamp. Send.

I wasn’t planning to say this, but I’m looking at that gif from one of my favorite movies (Miracle on 34th Street), and remembering Fred Gailey’s impassioned speech about the Post Office Department of the United States.

I always loved that part. My paternal grandfather, who I never met, was a stamp and coin man and I have some of his old collection. I grew up—well into adulthood—writing long letters to distant friends and family. I’ve always had an affinity for the mail. In the past year I’ve unintentionally started collecting again, first day covers of Mr. Rogers, Walt Whitman, and Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary.

Friends, the USPS is in trouble. I’m sad and angry about it. Your mailbox may mostly be full of junk mail and political fliers, but many people need the USPS—to receive medications and money to live on, and to run their small businesses. Just to stay connected. Not to mention to exercise the right and responsibility to vote.

I don’t know if stamps can do it, but maybe they can help—maybe we can help—one FOREVER flag, or bird, or Bugs Bunny at a time.

Just maybe, writing letters to the people who have loved us, to the people in all our own stories, can help save the USPS—and us as well.

Buy some stamps here.

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