Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

On This 40th Milestone, Here's a Reminder That You're Amazing

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


We turned double digits together, sporting perms and puff-painted shirts.

We traded off driving each other around at 16, blaring the Beastie Boys and Britney Spears.

At 21, we partied hard and at 30 we all feared getting old while diving head-first into marriage and motherhood.

This year we turn 40, and each morning as I log onto social media another childhood friend is celebrating this pivotal milestone in the best way they can during a pandemic.

As I racked my brain on what I could send as gifts to these amazing friends, I realized following along on their journeys for the last four decades has been a gift within itself.

And the greatest thing I could send them, didn’t actually cost a thing.

With a calendar and set of note cards in my nightstand, I began writing them each letters on their birthdays. Not emails or texts, but handwritten notes sharing with them what a privilege and honor it has been to watch them grow from little girls to strong, powerful women. They are each incredibly successful in life, and by that I don’t mean rich and famous. They have faced emotional trials like losing a child, miscarriage, careers ending, parents falling ill, divorce and health struggles. And through it all, they have risen up again and again, finding purpose and joy in life. They are successful no matter the size of their bank accounts or how many “likes” their posts get, because they have love and connection.

Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is acknowledging and reminding them how truly special they are. And that is my goal as we embark on this new decade, to slow down and write more letters allowing others to be present in their own accomplishments and joy. Because if we don't ever stop, we might look back one day and realized we were so busy with life, we didn't appreciate the best parts of it.

My mom has always said a handwritten letter is far more valuable than a gift card or anything tangible. In our fast-paced world the old-school pleasantry has been replaced with faster, more convenient communication options. The next time someone special to you has something to celebrate, think before sending those flowers that will only last a few days.

Think about the impact you can make, sharing with someone their value and how remarkable you think they are.

Christie Cuthbert is author of "Mom! I Farted in Church" and "The Mischief Makers" book series. Find her on Instagram @christiecuthbert

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.