Big Treasures from Little People


My dad recently unearthed a letter that I had written to him many, many years ago.


There was a time when my dad had to work abroad for about a year. He was in the U.S., working and getting everything ready for the rest us to move over, while we went about our normal routine as best as we could without him. There was no Facebook, no Skype, no email. Long distance phone calls were expensive, so they were a rare occurence. Good old fashioned letters was the main mode of communication to maintain family bonds.

When my dad showed me this letter a few weeks ago, I was amazed. It was written in Tagalog (national language of the Philippines). But today, I could barely read it all the way through.

Though I was fluent in both Tagalog and English at the time, when we moved to the U.S., the school my parents enrolled me in wanted to place me a grade level lower in case I had a hard time keeping up. Of course, this enraged my parents, and in an effort to keep us from accidentally speaking in Tagalog at school, they told us to only speak in English, even at home. Because I was so young, I eventually lost the fluency, though I could still understand the language.

But the letter had other hidden treasures. In it, I recount the places we visited, relatives that we saw, and what we had to do to get ready for our move to the U.S., mainly getting our house rented out and staying with my grandparents temporarily until our departure. There was a bit of family history in that short letter that I was able to share with my kids.

It turns out my dad saved this and countless other letters and pictures from me and my other siblings. My dad is definitely the sentimental type, and he would find it very hard to part with these.

Now that I’m a parent too, I appreciate these simple tokens of love and have created a “treasure chest” of pictures and notes from my own children that I hope to share with them when they’re all grown up.


Do you like to save handmade gifts and notes from your children? What are some of your treasures?


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24 thoughts on “Big Treasures from Little People

  1. I have a treasure chest and a file for the truly precious things that need extra care. Saving those things for the future for both of us to remember and enjoy the flood of memories.

    1. I get lost in the memories when I look through them by myself. It will be an even sweeter time to do that with my children when they’re grown.

    1. The hard part sometimes is figuring out what should go in there. You would quickly fill it up! 🙂 Or who says you can’t have more than one treasure chest?

  2. I like the treasure box idea too. I keep some of the items to put in their scrapbooks . . . whenever I make them! I hope you are able to retain your language! My husband came from Vietnam when he was 5. His dad was a Green Beret; his mom is Vietnamese. He only knew Vietnamese, but now he can understand a lot, but can speak hardly any of it and of course can’t write any of it. I wish he knew more as that is part of his heritage.

    1. I was around 8 when we moved, so I think I can get by if I tried to speak it. I know my grammar is all wrong though. I do wish I could speak better, so I could teach my children more than just a handful of words.

  3. I love this. I don’t know if my dad kept the stuff I made him, but I know that he keeps everything my daughter makes for him. His office is a shrine to his only granddaughter. 🙂 I love it.
    I keep a ton of what my daughter makes for us, and take pictures of everything I can’t carry along with us on the road. 🙂

    1. I think it means a lot to the kids too, when they know that what they made will go into Mommy’s special box. 🙂

  4. So far my three-year-old just does scribbles and shapes, but I do save many of them. That’s darling that your dad saved your letter.

    1. It only gets sweeter as those scribbles turn into pictures of you and your child … and even more so, when they start expressing their thoughts in written words.

  5. I enjoyed hearing about your family’s move. Perhaps because I can relate to not having had anything but snail mail letters to keep in touch. Our first years here in Italy were like that too. I’m not sentimental, so don’t hold on to much. But I did have a few things for kids. My daughter, however, is like her father, and saves lots of stuff for her kids. But she’s also a minimalist, and doesn’t like holding on to too much stuff. So she keeps digital copies instead much of the artwork, etc. Doing that, I guess, makes you here able to keep just a small treasure chest for each child, but still have a lot of stuff in it!

    1. I used to save everything. After getting married, my husband was shocked at the huge bins that contained all my journals. I tossed all the ones from my weepy, woe-is-me, single days. 🙂 So since then, I’ve been learning to figure out what’s worth keeping and looking at in the future to avoid all the clutter.

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