A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
While I was on the train the other day, I happened to overhear two men dressed in business suits talking. One said, "My mom gave me a 40th birthday present last night. I had no idea she had saved all the artwork I made as a kid. She framed one of my paintings, and gave it to me to celebrate my birthday." The other man said, "Wow, really?" The first man replied, "Yes, I loved art in school, and for so many years I haven't had the time to do it. My mom recognized that, and wanted to remind me how important it was to me."
Isn't that amazing? What a great gift—a piece of art, plus a reminder to do what you love. So many parents keep old school reports, art or class projects in a file, a trunk or in the garage. These treasured "relics" might be just the right gift at the right time. In short, you may already have the best gift you can give.
If you haven't already been using your computer and phone to communicate with your child, you will need to be prepared to not hear from them very much! Our kids communicate through these mediums. Learn to instant message, text, and go on MySpace and Facebook on the Internet. You will see how much fun and how immediate gratification works as you will connect right away with your child.
You can connect through laughter if you send your child a funny YouTube post via e-mail. There are so many funny short films to share that you will be e-mailing them back and forth while you are still chuckling about the last one.
A friend recently told me that the first night of Chanukah was very difficult for her girls. Both were in college far away from home and the semester calendar called for them to be at school for the start of the holiday. Both girls called in tears as they realized they would not be with their family to light the candles on the menorah. The mom, creative and clever, said, "I can fix that." After she lit the first candle, she took a picture of the family's menorah with her cell phone and sent it to her daughters. Once the picture arrived, they all had the menorah in front of them, even though they were miles apart. They created a new tradition with new technology.
It doesn't matter what age you are…when a care package from home arrives, it's always welcomed. Create care packages filled with the things your adult child loves! Their favorite foods (always a hit), music, a new movie, a gift card for Starbucks, a calling card (with a wish for them to call home more often) a gas card or a new book for journaling. You know what to do. They will love you for taking the time to send them the things that make their new house a home.
When your daughter turns 21, ask 21 women who she knows and who have known her to write a letter of advice…words of wisdom that each woman wants to share with the "new" woman. Place all the notes you receive in a book and give it to your daughter as a way to transition her into becoming a young woman.
- Use snail mail. Send cards and write letters. Getting mail that matters has become welcome because it's so rare these days. Use the old post office and send a message from the heart.
- Make your child's favorite dish and put it in their freezer. They will be delighted on the day they need it.
- Make a recipe binder with your family's favorite and most beloved dishes. This is a wonderful gift and it will ensure traditions for years to come.
- Make a scrapbook filled with pictures to send off to college with your child. They will love having it to show to their new friends, and it will be a wonderful comfort to them on the days when homesickness takes hold.
- Put notes in your child's pockets as you pack their clothes for college. They will find them for months to come. They may be annoyed, but they will get a chuckle out of it, too!
- Send your child a one-way ticket home. Let them know they always have the means to make their way back home.
- Celebrate their successes—over the phone, in an e-mail or surprise them with a visit! Show how proud you are of their accomplishments.
- Send flowers to college. You can add a little "thinking of you" note and let all the roommates try and guess who sent them. Your child will know.