My son Sammy (Who goes by Sam now to everyone but his me) has waited over 15 years for this day to come. Since Sammy was just four years old, he has known about an envelope that was addressed to him by his grandfather, Thomas Maughon. It has been the topic of many conversations in our household over the past 15+ years.
You see, his grandfather wrote him the letter back in 2000, just before we moved into our new home. He did not tell my husband nor me about what the letter said, or why he even wrote it. He just did. He said it was important and that Sammy should not open it until Oct 7th, 2015. He also told us that the date had no significance, but that Sammy should adhere to his rule. The envelope had been sealed and given to us to keep for Sammy ever since.
We had actually forgotten on several occasions that we even had the letter. Because it was important to Sammy, we had placed the envelope in our safety deposit box for safe keeping. We had only been reminded of it when we would ever have the need to go to the box for things like our passports or social security cards or other documents we kept in there. Back in 2013, we had made a special trip to the box because Sammy just swore that the date had finally come (the year he graduated from high school) only to be disappointed to realize that he actually had to wait another year or two.
Over the years, my father had laughed whenever we would ask what was in the letter. He even admitted to us a couple of years ago that he had all but forgotten what he had written! He had said that he hoped that Sammy would not be terribly disappointed once he was able to read it. Of course none of that mattered to Sammy because the anticipation was as much fun and important as the words would ever be.
The irony in it all, came last year. After checking on the letter near Sammy’s graduation, I had remembered that I had taken a picture of it back then so that we could remember the date without having to return to the safety deposit box. Last year, upon my father’s death, I had searched for the picture because I knew that the letter was dated sometime in October and I have to admit that I was a bit freaked out that it could possibly have been the same day of my Father’s death. To our surprise, the date Sammy was to open the letter was to be almost exactly one year past the date of his death. Papa died on October 9th, 2014. The letter was dated October 7th, 2015. Although it was a mere coincidence, it was a truly impactful one to me.
This school year has been quite busy for Sammy. Between his school work and his new fraternity responsibilities, he has not been able to come home much at all this semester. Because of that, he had told us that even though he knew the date on the letter had past, he wanted to wait until he was able to go to the box himself to retrieve the letter (instead of us driving it to him). So today was a very special day for my boy because after 15 years of waiting, he was finally able to go to the box in person and he would be able to open his special mystery message.
Although the words my father talked about in the letter were not profound or extremely important, the letter caused me to cry. You see, my father describes in great detail a “typical” weekend at our home, full of activities that our then four-year-old enjoyed. He wrote of our attending two birthday parties with us, going to Sammy’s baseball game (He was on The Snappers) and how wonderful it made him feel to get to be a part of it all. You would have thought the man was describing climbing The Great Wall or traveling to a country he had never seen. He described the events of that weekend in such wonderful detail and with such excitement. We could hear his voice and just picture his grin while we were reading it. Papa delighted at being with his grandchildren and cherished each and every visit with them, as if it were the most important thing he had ever done.
My father described Sammy’s visitors that weekend, among them his best friend Wesley Duncan. He said that he hoped that he would have great friendships that lasted a lifetime and that he would be happy. He spoke of how tender-hearted Sammy was and how he loved that about him. What a wonderful thing to know that all the things my Father wished for my son have come true. Wesley is still his very Best Friend, and Sammy truly is still the same sweet child he always has been. He is soft spoken and kind, just as my Father knew he would be. I know my Dad’s influence over the years had a great deal to do with that.
Once he read the first letter, Sammy opened another envelope inside marked “Open this envelope last”. It simply read, “You must be about 20 years old now and you have waited a long time for this”. He said he was very proud of him and for him to go to “Nana & Papa” for a special surprise. That part was hard to read, for us both. Sammy will never get to have that special surprise from his Papa, but we are very thankful that he loved my boy enough to want to do something very special for him.
We had a great time living out this little mystery. It is neat to see how such a simple little thing as a plain white envelope and a handwritten note, made such a lasting impact on our family. This memory is one we will all treasure for the rest of our lives, especially my son, Sammy.
Thank you, Papa.