This is a fascinating collection of letters written by mothers to their children. Worth reading. Fathers write to share lessons, women write to share emotions. I think. I might be wrong but there you go.
Some of the letters are very very thought provoking. Can you imagine writing to your children?
Happy Mother's Day! History's most inspiring letters of motherly advice, the surprising science of motivation, Raymond Chandler on writing, and more
Last year, we celebrated Father’s Day with an omnibus of history’s finest letters of fatherly advice, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Jackson Pollock, and Neil Armstrong. Later adding to them was more timeless epistolary advice from notable dads like Ted Hughes, Sherwood Anderson, Richard Dawkins, and Charles Dickens.
It’s only fitting to honor Mother’s Day with a similarly spirited selection of history’s finest motherly advice, spanning nearly half a millennium of poignant and prescient counsel from notable moms.
From Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters (public library), which also gave us the author’s surprising report card, comes this remarkable 1969 missive she penned aboard an airplane for her daughter Linda to revisit later in life:
I am in the middle of a flight to St. Louis to give a reading. I was reading a New Yorker story that made me think of my mother and all alone in the seat I whispered to her “I know, Mother, I know.” (Found a pen!) And I thought of you – someday flying somewhere all alone and me dead perhaps and you wishing to speak to me. And I want to speak back. (Linda, maybe it won’t be flying, maybe it will be at your own kitchen table drinking tea some afternoon when you are 40. Anytime.) – I want to say back.
1st I love you.
2. You never let me down.
3. I know. I was there once. I too, was 40 with a dead mother who I needed still… .
This is my message to the 40 year old Linda. No matter what happens you were always my bobolink, my special Linda Gray. Life is not easy. It is awfully lonely. I know that. Now you too know it – wherever you are, Linda, talking to me. But I’ve had a good life – I wrote unhappy – but I lived to the hilt. You too, Linda – Live to the HILT! To the top. I love you 40 year old, Linda, and I love what you do, what you find, what you are!—Be your own woman. Belong to those you love. Talk to my poems, and talk to your heart – I’m in both: if you need me. I lied, Linda. I did love my mother and she loved me. She never held me but I miss her, so that I have to deny I ever loved her – or she me! Silly Anne! So there!