Monday, 11 November 2013

What would you want to say to your child in 50 years time?

Recently, The Eldest brought home a time capsule, donated to each student at her school, for us to fill and return to school. The time capsule, then, would be stored in a new build in Ottawa, to be returned to the student and opened in 50 years time.

50 years time. Which, when one works out the math...hurts.

In 50 years time, The Eldest will be 54. The Youngest will be 52. Hubby and I will be 89, well past current life expectancy for both men and women, and therefore unlikely to still be here. And so I cried. A lot. And it made working out what to put into the time capsule incredibly hard.

What do you say to your children, 50 years down the track, not knowing the turns in their lives and what words they should receive / want to receive / need to receive from their (potentially deceased) parents.

Thankfully, The Eldest had some of her own ideas. She was insistent that we included some of her hair, so she could see what colour her hair was when she was four. So, into the time capsule, went two locks of hair, one for The Eldest and one for The Youngest, brown and straight, blonde and curly. Soft as silk.

In went a picture of her family under a rainbow, painstakingly drawn and coloured in.

Space, however was an issue. The time capsule was small. Very briefly, I contemplated putting in a USB drive with files on it, but considering how rapidly technology is changing, it could be rendered useless and therefore immensely disappointing. Whereas the written word can always be read (as long as the ink hasn't faded!!!).

Folded paper takes up a lot of space, so after a lot of thought, in to the time capsule went messages from their grandparents (what treasure!), a few photos of themselves, our dog and us as a family.

In went the blog posts I wrote to both girls for their birthdays this year A letter to the Eldest and A letter to the Youngest.

And lastly, a letter from us to them, parents to children, across half a century. What do you say to your children, 50 years down the track?

In the end, after starting the letter off with personal, pertinent, what their personalities and lives are like right now, I finished off with the following:

"We want you to know that we love you both more than words could possibly say. You have made our lives rich beyond words. Everyday is brighter because you are both in it. You both amaze us with your intelligence, your kindness, your generosity, your laughter, your observations of the world. There are never enough hours in the day for the time we want to spend with you watching you both grow. Time is flying by all to quickly and we wish we could freeze time, and keep you as you are now, gorgeous, cute, delightful, a wonder to behold. But if we did that, we would miss all the wonder that is to come. Watching you grow into beautiful young women with the world at your feet.

If you are reading this, 50 years will have passed. Fifty years of joy, sadness, happiness, pain, adventure, excitement. There will have been good times and hard times. We hope that regardless of what has happened, you will have been there for each other. Our greatest wishes for you are that you are happy, that you are close to each other and can rely on each other. We hope that you are surrounded by loving family, working in a job you love and finding time to enjoy life. We hope we developed in you a love of travel, of adventure. That you walk through this life with dignity, respect and honour. That you find time to laugh – a lot!

We may or may not still be with you physically, but we will always be with you in spirit. We are in the whisper of leaves as you walk down the street. We are in the gentle caress of wind on your cheek. We are in the smell of foods you remember, flowers you pick, the outdoors after it has rained. We are in the sound of rain as it gently falls and the colours of the rainbow. We were your first loves, your first friends and not time nor space can separate us.

We love you to the moon and back, our baby girls.
Mum and Dad xxx"

I hope with all my heart, that in fifty years time, life has been good to my girls. That they are happy. That they love, and are loved in return. 

(I hope the paper wasn't too tear stained). 

Will they ever actually get the time capsule? I hope so. And if they do, I hope they see it as something special, and that the words within give them joy as well as comfort. I hope I am still around, and with enough mental faculty left to share it with them. And if not, I hope I am there in spirit. 

And mostly, I want my words not to be new words. I want them to be words they heard from me a hundred thousand times over the next 50 years and that when they read my letter, it will be affirmation of how much we loved them, how beautiful, special and loved they are. That if they don't get the time capsule, they know those words anyway. 

And just to be safe, I have kept a copy, to pass on to them, in 50 years time regardless.

Jen xxx

*What would you write to your children?

*some inspiration for what I wrote in the final paragraph of my letter, came from a link on Facebook, that began with "your Mother is always with you'. It was credited 'Unknown".


  1. Lovely Jen. I certainly hope they get to read it in 50 years time. There is one thing that rings in my ears from my mother. She is now 93 and has lost most of her memory from Alhzeimers but I can still hear her saying to me as I'd head off to a party or somewhere as a teenager.."Just be careful." A simple but poignant phrase which in it's own way resonnated in me and also said without the words... 'I love you and care for you and don't want to see you hurt in any way' and also made me think about what I was doing or about to do. I still say it to myself now and I hear Mum saying it at the same time.
    Go well Jen. Don't cry about the passing years, enjoy them for every new experience you encounter. I love reading your blog.

    1. Ah Lady - I miss you! Thank you for sharing that with me. I know you miss your Mum, and it must be so hard being 'across the ditch'. I will always remember how Barney loved spending time with her in the sun on the window seat :) Hope all is going well for you and Aaron. Hugs xxx