I kept all the cards I was sent when I first became a mother. All the celebratory notes, the sweet hand-written words that welcomed me into the exclusive club of parenthood and more importantly, welcomed our baby girl into the world.
I kept them and put them into a display folder, the kind usually reserved for boring business presentations or school projects, but the best thing for the job. They are displayed so that you can see the pretty pink pictures on the front and the beautiful, personal messages inside. I did this for my first daughter and my second, and then my third, because I wanted them to know, in case they ever doubted it, how much of a celebration their lives had brought about. How much they were welcomed, treasured, loved.
I had never shown the girls their folders, mainly because I had thought they would be older before they could grasp the intention behind them. Perhaps they might still come in useful in times of adolescent angst. But tonight Freya was talking about her namesake, the Norse goddess, and how her class is beginning to learn the myths of Freya. I remembered that I had printed out a beautiful illustration of my Freya’s goddess when she was just a few weeks old, and put it in her folder. Naturally she was fascinated, and proceeded to look at and read every card. Elsa wanted to know if she had a folder too, and set about doing the same. And maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I think her wise 12-year-old eyes saw past the pink baby carriages and the embossed booties into how big her life was to us, even when she was just a tiny dot.
So today I took just a moment to congratulate myself on that decision 12 years ago, on the $2 purchase of a crappy plastic folder that holds so much love and so many promises. Not just for my daughters, but for myself too.