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Julia Sims: Love letters

Posted February 4, 2013

WRAL-TV reporter Julia Sims with son Will

Grand plans and great expectations. We all have them at some point,right?

Shortly after Will was born, I ran out and bought a journal. I was determined to document every daily milestone and wax poetically about every precious moment. Well, Will turns five this month and that journal? It's on life support. Actually that's being generous. Only one page has anything written on it. And by the looks of it, I must have frantically tried to write down several of his "firsts" in one fell swoop.

So, when I realized I was not up to the task, I found an alternative. One that works for me and one that is more me than a journal. Every year for his birthday, I write Will a letter. To me, they are love letters to a little boy who has captured my heart completely.

There's no right or wrong to them, no formula. I simply write what strikes me on the eve of his birthday. The first year, I wrote up a list of my "mama advice" for him. You know, the really important things like "if you tell a girl you're going to call her, call her!" and "Find something you love and make a career of it- don't do a job simply for the paycheck." and "Remember your manners. Please and thank you go a long way."

The other years, I've written about the fun adventures we've had and the funny things he's said like the time I made pancakes and the smoke alarm went off. For the next year, Will refused to eat pancakes, covering his ears and saying "Mama, pancakes are too loud!"

I've also written about his friends and how much he's enjoyed t-ball or how he fell in love with Scooby Doo. This year, I'm telling him how much he's changed our lives, how he is a blessing to our little family and how he is the best assignment I've ever had.

I will let him know how much I've learned from him. I've learned to be patient, I've learned that a lot of things I used to think matter really don't and I've learned how to drive slowly and eat quickly. I've also re-learned the joy of going to the library, splashing in the creek and running around the house in circles for no particular reason.

When he was a baby, I bought a bunch of those parenting books and then lamented that I wasn't doing things just right. A wise mama (Elizabeth Gardner) told me to ditch the books. She said I would find my own way and I would be fine.

She was right ... finding your own way is much more fun and writing love letters suits me just fine too.

Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of a preschooler. She starts writing for Go Ask Mom monthly.


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  • Willie_11 Feb 6, 2013

    Yes, ditch the books except for 1 - The Bible. Use your spiritual faith and teachings from God in order to raise your children. The book of Proverbs was written by the smartest man who ever lived, Soloman to his son.

  • 321oohaw Feb 5, 2013

    how sweet...

  • snowl Feb 5, 2013

    @KLW...My mom is a nice person but she never told me she loved me growing up. In fact she could be quite critical and cold at times when I needed her to be soft and caring. It could be how she was raised, but I have made sure that my children know that I love them every single day, and now that I AM a grandmother I say it even more.

  • blahblahblah Feb 5, 2013

    My children are 29 and 26 now. I used to write them letters for the first day of school to ease their anxiety and nervousness that always seemed to accompany that day. I plan to carry on the tradition when I am fortunate enough to have grandchildren.

  • KLW Feb 5, 2013

    I've been doing the same thing for my daughter and putting them in a binder for her. She'll be one year old on 2/27 but I wrote letters every couple of months during this first year about how much joy she is bringing to my life and how I love being her mom, stuff she's doing that's really smart or cute or funny, etc. I want there to be no doubt in her mind when she's older about how I felt about her. My mom and I were never close and I wish she had done something like this for me.

  • marandablomqvist Feb 5, 2013

    Julia, love reading your stories. What a wonderful idea to write letters to your son on his birthday. You two will have so much fun reading these letters years from now when he is all grown up.What a way to look back and reminisce.

  • grannybam07 Feb 5, 2013

    What a wonderful idea! I'm going to borrow this and write letters to my grandson. Thank you for sharing and Elizabeth is right - ditch the books. Every mother-child relationship is unique.