Emily Unkle is a creative director, photographer, stylist and content creator. She lives with her husband and daughter in an old home in Tennessee, with their cat Hemingway. Her story touched us, and we thought there wasn’t a better way to share our story than by letting one of our community members tell you about hers.

I’m not a good memory keeper. I hold on to things in my head, and naively stick to the idea that I won’t forget them if I don’t write them down. I don’t think I’ve always been this way; I was a letter writer and journal keeper in my younger years, but it’s what I’ve become now. My mother-in law bought me a beautiful baby book for my daughter when she was born and I’ve written down all of three milestones. I hang on to the fact that it also contains the first lock of hair that was cut from her little curls as some sort of redeeming quality. To spite the fact that I’m no longer a stellar model of a tangible memory keeper I’ve still found myself longing for those aspects of life. I love the ease of finding my planner, notes, emails and finances all in my little iPhone, but I sometimes miss the personal aspect of things that you can touch and hold.

As a family we’ve tried to find little ways to keep the thoughts-turned-tangible alive, and recently my husband had the idea to start writing our daughter letters and have them delivered through the mail. Jane, our daughter, has just reached the age where mail is such an exciting thing, and she can’t help but stand beside us and bounce with excitement every time we get a package of toilet paper from Amazon. A few months ago we discovered Felt, and it was a perfect way for him to share his thoughts with her in a way that felt personal (and in his own handwriting). He could write anytime he had a minute, or a thought to share, and a few days later it would arrive in the mailbox. Checking the mail is one of our little rituals, and on the day Jane’s letter arrive I think it was the highlight of her day.

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Writing letters to Jane has become a habit now. Something that we can cultivate with ease, but that has tangible, lasting impact. My daughter keeps every single letter she receives, and says (usually while hugging her notes) “this is my note, and it means that someone loves me!” Those words mean so much to me. I’m reminded of the power of a few kind words on a piece of paper that you can hold (and hug, if you want) on the heart. In the words of my daughter, it means that you’re loved.

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