Mail and memories arrive today from South Africa. And candy.

I’m standing in the living room surrounded by chaos and flour because Micah is modeling a culinary masterpiece at the dining room table. And the mailman hands me a package that I wasn’t expecting and suddenly I smell jasmine and jacarandas in bloom and I’m five years old and more excited to open this than I was for Christmas presents back then.

It’s loaded with good stuff. T-shirts for the boys, photographs – man how they’ve all grown and changed and beautified into their skins – lotions and letters and fizzers. But it’s one sheet of paper that has me laughing and crying at the same time and scrunching up my face in delight. Like my mom and her dad before her and her grandma, my father has sent my sons an illustrated letter.

The first one.

Words and drawings from his pen to their eyes and mine are wet and filled with amazement.

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Because it’s not just the letters. It’s the fact that he’s noticed. He’s noticed what they love (tractors, puppies) and that’s what he’s drawn from a black fountain pen and a study at the top of a tall hill in Pretoria. He’s bridged the gap of years with a few strokes of the pen.

And while they may be entranced for a minute, the magic will last years for me.

Because in noticing them, he was noticing me. And that’s a gift worth crossing the Atlantic for.

When last did you feel well and truly noticed?

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Pst, photo prompt for tomorrow’s Five Minute Friday: What’s the best mail you got recently – email, text, or snail mail? Take five minutes and illustrate with words how you felt opening it, reading it, or digesting it. Help us read it through your eyes.

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