Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Comfort letter

Part of the thousand-page registration packet we picked up was a sheet that described how to put together two "emergency kits" for the kids in case of earthquake. Now, I'm from Florida where we were never asked to do such silly things. No earthquakes out there, and if it was raining too hard and too windy, well then you wouldn't be at school. So, this is kind of new territory for me.

The sheet has a list of things to go into two different ziploc bags. One bag is for a shorter term, more immediate emergency and will be kept in the classroom. This one only has ONE non-perishable food item and only ONE bottle of water. The other bag is for longer term and requires two bottles of water, three non-perishable food items. a small toy or book, notepad and pencil, a space blanket, two 33-gallon trash bags, etc. This bag is going in a container outside of the classroom. Both bags also require a family photo and a comfort letter from mom or dad.

Given that I'm the "writer" in the family, I thought I'd give it a whirl. My first inclination was to open up my laptop and knock something out. But then, I thought that might not be too comforting to my daughter. She might prefer something handwritten. So, I go get a nice stationary and pen and sit down to write this letter of comfort for her.

But I'm stuck. What do I say to comfort my child in some undetermined emergency state?? Here's my first draft.

Dear Morgan,

I'm sorry that some unfortunate situation has occurred that requires you to open this bag and read this letter. I don't know if it's an earthquake or what, so I don't really have any words of advice for you. Even if it was an earthquake, your Southeastern U.S. mother wouldn't know what to do. Hopefully they've taught you that at school already. I can tell you what to do if it's a hurricane though. Not much help, huh?

Did you eat your raisins yet? Hope they didn't get stale. I picked them as your non-perishable item because they are self contained, and to be honest, what we had in the cupboard at the time I put this kit together for you. It was another thing to mark off my ever increasing to-do list and just part of a thousand page registration packet getting you ready for Kindergarten. If this is a major catastrophe, then you'll also be able to enjoy a Kids' Cliff bar -- you love those!! Oh, and you'll get to practice writing or drawing on the cute notepad you picked out! Hope you enjoy seeing your small toy. We opted to use something you already had rather than have you pick out a new toy that had to immediately go into a bag you will hopefully never see again. Until now.

Yeah, so I'm not sure where you are or what you are doing when you are reading this. Or better yet, I don't even know if you are able to read this yourself yet or not. In which case, I hope the adult or older child who is reading it will excuse my handwriting. I don't write things by hand much lately. You know, with the advent of computers and all. Which reminds me. If you are getting cell phone reception, I'm including my cell phone number at the bottom. Send me a text and let me know that my child is busy reading their comfort letter and so I have a chance to actually come comfort her in person.

Anyhoo - I hope you are able to make the best out of the bad situation you are in. Really the only thing I can tell you that would be of any comfort is how much Daddy and I love you. We always will. Regardless of whether or not you or we live through this catastrophic event.


What do you think? Positive? Upbeat? Extra points for humor??


Julie P said...

I hope you put that exact letter in there. Morgan and whomever is reading it to her will appreciate the laugh.

aspohn said...

I am sure that she will appreciate the realist in you pointing out the possibility of not surviving the catastrophe...I love it! Would it be too much to include a copy of your will in case she, alone, survives it? Then:
p.s. Mommy packed something good for you since this may be the last thing you eat for a while...good luck!

melissa said...

Okay, was the school building built in 1892 or something??? Does a fault run directly under her classroom??? Good lord, what exactly are they expecting will happen?? I think they are taking the earthquake thing a little too far. When I was in school, it was duck and cover and good luck. I'm guessing they are more concerned with parents being able to make it back to pick up their kid or something like that and needing something to occupy the kids as they wait. I hope so. Either that or the school principal is one of those weird mid-westerners who will live through tornados ripping their house apart and rebuild every year, but are somehow deathly afraid of a major earthquake that occurs like once every 80 years.

Paige said...

Melissa - I suspect that this is some sort of law or school "guideline" as is many of the idiotic things we Americans have to endure. I had to put together a slimmed down version of this for Morgan's preschool. Just you wait!!

Anonymous said...

I am from Western Canada and I was told the same thing from my son's preschool: comfort letter + family picture in a ziploc bag.

I also thought it seemed a bit strange, and I have no idea what I am going to write to my not-yet three year old. I know he cannot yet read and don't know if I will write a generic letter I can "recycle" in next year's comfort kit or not.

I think your letter to Morgan is great!

Anonymous said...

I think your letter would be great for an older child... I've had to write on every year for my son who is now in 3rd grade, and I still struggle. I think that you should write something that is more on a childs level. When my son was in K I wrote something telling him how much he means to me and how much I love him. Then of course told him to be a big brave boy and God is always with him. Finished with a few jokes, just to make him smile and told him no matter what happened everything would work out. Then 1st grade, I did sort of the same thing. 2nd got a little harder, because I knew he could understand more. Being a Women of faith, I used God alot in my letter. I also explained no matter what he will be okay... wether it be on Earth or in Heaven. This year seems to be even harder. The more the world seems to crumble the more I see a natural disater a posibility. This is what I wrote...

Hi Son! If you are reading this you are probably a little scared and wondering what is going on. Please don't be scared and don't worry everything is going to be fine. As long as you have God you have nothing to worry about. Just PRAY and try to stay brave. I or someone else will get to you as soon as possible. I love you very, very, very much. I am sure you already know that. Just keep that handsome smile on your face and try to stay positive. Whenever you get scared/worried just remember to pray. Prayer is the strongest weapon against all things. It is really hard and weird to be writting a letter like this to you. I hope you never have to read it, but if you do just remember how much I love you. Stay strong, PRAY a lot and I will see you as soon as I can. Big hugs and kisses to my special boy.

Love you lots and lots!

Anonymous said...

yup, I too thought it dumb when 1st required to produce a kit... but then when school brought a terrified kid with a badly broken arm to the ER I'm a nurse in - and the parents commute and were an hour away I saw the real value of a 'comfort' kit - now I even keep a mini kit by the door and in the car with a couple of small toys, books and snacks - all trips to the ER are unplanned and having some pics and comfort stuffie as well as a snack (may not be allowed to eat tho - depends on the problem) makes everyones life easier...