Lately, whenever I’m able to carve out some time to write, I’ve been struggling with which projects to work on.

I have several things I’m finishing up or revising, and some new projects I’ve recently started too.

And I feel passionate about all of them.

The other night, I got frustrated, wishing I had more of a focus and less of a fire for so many different things.

I wished there was one manuscript that stood out as the one I should be putting all my time into.

Even though I thrive on having my hands in many different projects at once, I’ve been praying for more of a clear priority…

I want my writing to make an impact, whether in the lives of kids, teens, or women. And I want to spend my time on the stories that make the most difference…

All of these thoughts were running through my head as I went upstairs to check on my kids. It was late, and when I went into their rooms, they were both asleep.

Quietly, I sat down at my daughter’s desk.

The notebook that we write each other notes in every night was open to a fresh page. She hadn’t written me anything before she fell asleep, but I didn’t mind.

I smiled and picked up a pen.

May 16, 2011, I wrote, pausing to think about what to say.

The notebook was her idea–to replace our writings on the whiteboard. “I want to save what we write, instead of erase it,” she said one day, taking the notebook out and putting it on her desk.

And so our nightly letters to each other shifted from the whiteboard to paper.

I started to write…

I love you, Sweetheart.

I thought about all that my daughter has faced in sixth grade this year… the new experiences–both good and challenging–and all that she’s had on her plate with school and sports.

I thought about the transition from elementary to middle school and how fragile and important this pre-teen age is.

You are full of life and love, I continued.
eager to do the right thing,
even when it’s hard.
You are committed
and dedicated
and loyal
and responsible–
a wonderful daughter
and person.
I am blessed.


I know my note might sound corny, but everything I wrote was true. And I hoped it would encourage her in some way.

In my son’s room, I grabbed the dry-erase pen off his dresser and wrote him a note too (the whiteboard still hangs on the wall by his bed).

On my way downstairs, I thought about our letters back and forth and wondered if my kids will remember them when they grow up.

I wondered if they might use whiteboards or notebooks with their own kids someday.

I wondered if my daughter might look at those lined pages when she’s a teenager–maybe even on a day she’s mad at me–and remember how much I love her,

or if she’ll look at them when she’s a mom herself, and maybe even show them to her own children.

And I realized with sudden clarity,

that no matter what other writing projects I’m working on,

no matter which books of mine are published or not,

my nightly notes,

my simple, sometimes corny, always mushy, nightly notes,

might be that one thing that makes a difference,

that one, most important thing

that I will ever write.


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16 Comments on Maybe the most important thing that I will ever write

  1. Oh my gosh, that made me cry! What a beautiful thing. I'm going to ask my two girls if they want to try it ;) Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is so beautiful! I love the idea of the notes to each other. My daughter is only 3, but I'm going to start this with her now. I LOVE it! And you are so right — that really is the best writing you'll ever do. It will make a huge impact on her life. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring me.

  3. This really touched me. I've never thought about writing letters with my children. Is it too late to start? My two youngest are 10 and 7. I doubt I would get any interest from my 17 or 20 year old. And yes, these are the most important letters you will write in your life.

  4. Thank you, Genny! Yes, you're absolutely right about those being the most important words you write. I'm sure they will always remember them, and add the ritual to their children's lives, too. That is a truly beautiful thing, and I thank you for sharing it with us.

  5. One of my sons had to write a letter to me each week and I had to respond. I loved it! I love the White Board for notes in their rooms. I think I'll do that. We moved and haven't space in the kitchen. I like your idea much better! Beautiful, heart-filled letter! What a blessing!

  6. A really beauitful post, Ginny. I've been thinking a lot this year about the notes we write on the hearts of those we love. They live on long after we are gone. I love how you have made these notes a tangible reality for your children. Just beautiful!

  7. Your kids are so lucky to have a mom with such a beautiful, caring, compassionate heart. They will carry the impact of these notes with them forever.Peace to you this day.Jeanine

  8. What a fabulous idea. I think I would like to start off with the dry erase board until my little one can read and write back. I love it. I started blogging so that it would replace my attempt at journaling for my daughter. So I commit every Monday to write a summary of the week's new discoveries, funny stories, mile stones, etc…I didn't see the link list to link up so just including it here.

  9. Genny, I LOVE this idea! I bet she keeps that notebook forever. I write journal notes to my kids and imagine I'll give them their journals when they're around ten or twelve. I really want to do this too!Carla

  10. This is beautiful! I got the whiteboard idea from you, but my kids keep it cluttered with their drawings. I need to start this note thing up again since during the day sometimes I'm "too busy!" Love it that it was your daughter's idea!

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