Shortly before my daughter turned one, a friend who has three children mentioned something she'd done for her kids' first birthdays that I immediately knew I wanted to do for mine, too. The idea is to have people from the child's life write letters to her for her first birthday that she will open on her future birthdays, every year until adulthood.
I made a numbered list from one to 21, then wrote a list of people I wanted to ask to write the letters. I decided to limit the exercise to close family members (including my husband and myself) and godparents -- but of course I could just as well have asked extended family and friends. Then I matched people with ages -- for example, one godparent wrote the letter she'll open on her eighth birthday; I'll write the one for her sixteenth; my 94-year old grandfather wrote one for her fourteenth. The way my list worked out, some people were asked to write more than one letter.
I emailed everyone individually to ask them if they would be willing to participate (and of course all said yes), then I asked them to give me their letters before my daughter's first birthday with "To Felicity on her Xth birthday" on the outside of the sealed envelope. I am keeping all the letters in a memory box, unopened.
Some people got really creative and included memorabilia from their own life and lifetime, some included artwork or computer disks (containing photos, maybe? or...I don't know what! We'll find out in a few years!). Some (including me) just wrote heartfelt notes, in part reflecting on her first year and in part wondering how our family life will be so many years hence. I'm really excited to see how she reacts to these missives from the past each year on her birthday. I hope she'll have as much fun reading them as we did writing and collecting them. And of course, I hope she'll share them with me.
(Photo credit: apartmenttherapy.com)