I'm just a regular mom, figuring out life with my daughter Sophia, who has cystic fibrosis.Take this journey with me.

Letters to Sophia

If you would like to share a story, a life experience, or really just about anything with Sophia, please send me your letter in an email to:

If permission is granted from the writer, I will post these letters here.

As Sophia gets older, I will share these letters with her.

7 thoughts on “Letters to Sophia

  1. Hi Katie. I just read some of your posts. They are quite wonderful. Sophia is very lucky to have a Mom like you. You are lucky to have a very special daughter like Sophia.

  2. Dear Sophia,

    It has been such a long while since I last wrote you. To be more precise, my fifth letter to you, I wrote back in April. Now is the beginning of October. This means that we are at the beginning of the season called Autumn. Then, in April, the season of the year was Spring. One of the differences between Spring and Autumn, is that in the Spring, after three months of Winter, everything, especially the leaves and flowers, “spring” to life, while one of the distinguishing characteristics of Autumn is that, after three months of Summer, especially the leaves of the trees, first, turn their colours (from green to yellow orange red), and then they “fall” down to the ground. Hence in some countries, particularly in North America where we live, Autumn is also called Fall.

    Do you know why we divide the 12 months of the year into four seasons? The main reason is that over the period of 12 months we have four different kinds of weather: cold (Winter), mild (Spring), hot (Summer), temperate (Autumn).

    To understand better these changes I asked Cousin Paul to explain to me more precisely what characteristics or peculiarities each of the four seasons has. As always he agreed, but with one condition, that what he would tell me I would promise to share with you. Of course, I could not have been happier than to say, ‘Yes, whatever you will tell me, Cousin Paul, I will be delighted to pass on to my dearest friend Sophia’. Here is now Cousin Paul speaking.

    Of all four seasons Winter, which starts around 21 of December, is the coldest one with lots of snow, ice and frost all around. Lakes and rivers freeze so that people can walk over them. The days are short and the nights are long. We wear coats, boots, gloves, mittens and scarves to keep ourselves warm. Bundled up in warm clothes, kids enjoy outdoor activities sledding, skating, skiing, snowman building and snowboarding. One particular animal, the bear, spends the entire Winter sleeping. We say that bears during the winter ‘hibernate’ (from ‘hibernus’ the Latin word for Winter).

    Spring comes after Winter, around 21 of March. It is a time when the snow is melting, the rivers and lakes unfreeze. It rains a lot. Flowers bloom during Spring and there is greenery all around. In many cultures, Spring is celebrated because of its importance in food production and the sowing of the crops. We wear raincoat and rain boots to protect ourselves from the rain. Kids come outdoors to play, to ride bikes, to fly kites or to plant gardens. There is no branch on the trees that is not decked in green leaves and ornamented with the most exquisitely coloured flowers which attract many insects especially bees.

    Summer comes after Spring, about 21 of June. It is the hottest and sunniest time of the year. The days are long and the nights are short. We wear hats, swimsuits, shorts, floaters and loose dresses that allow us to move comfortably in the hot, dry weather. We spend a lot of time around the lakes and rivers and take a dip in the cool waters to refresh our bodies. In most countries, children are out of school during this time of year for summer break. Many kids like to have indoor fun and games. Outdoors, people go to the beach to swim and enjoy various water sports.

    Autumn or Fall comes after Summer, around 21 of September. It is dry but much cooler than Summer. At this time, leaves are changing colour and falling. In many cultures, Autumn is associated with harvest, so that its name in some languages like German is ‘Herbst’ (‘Harvest’). Vegetables and grains are ripe at this time. Temperatures begin to drop, nights begin to get longer, and all the woodland creatures are storing up for the long haul of winter. We wear light jackets. Many children like to play outdoor games. The younger ones like to jump into piles of leaves, and those a bit older start playing sports, among which the more popular, are hockey, football, basketball, soccer and baseball. Schools that were closed for July and August start classes about two weeks before Autumn starts. Now you can see thousands of young people on the streets with backpacks. All of this hustle and bustle makes Autumn very memorable and exciting.

    Since now is the season of Autumn, I would like to introduce to you and Sophia, several poems which describe what Autumn is and what activities people and, especially, children like to get involved in.

    The first poem is by an author whose name is Winifred Sackville Stoner, Junior, and it is called

    “Autumn, Queen of Year”

    When the pumpkins are so yellow
    And the vines with grapes abound,
    When the melons are so mellow
    And the nuts fall to the ground;
    When persimmons lose their bitters,
    And the apples are so red;
    When we love to eat corn fritters
    Since the roasting ears have fled;
    When vacation days are over
    And the children go to school,
    They no longer play in clover,
    But much learn “Arithmos-rule,”
    When weird Halloween’s most naughty elves
    With gnomes and sprites appear,
    While fat Thanksgiving fills the shelves –
    ‘Tis autumn, Queen of Year.

    Another writer by the name Susan Coolidge describes

    “How the Leaves Came Down”

    “I’ll tell you how the leaves came down,”
    The great tree to his children said,
    “You’re getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,
    Yes, very sleepy, little Red.
    It is quite time to go to bed.”

    “Ah!” begged each silly, pouting leaf,
    “Let us a little longer stay;
    Dear Father Tree, behold our grief;
    It is such a very pleasant day
    We do not want to go away.”

    So, for just one more merry day
    To the great tree the leaflets clung,
    Frolicked and danced, and had their way,
    Upon the autumn breezes swung,
    Whispering all their sports among,–

    “Perhaps the great tree will forget,
    And let us stay until the spring,
    If we all beg, and coax, and fret.”
    But the great tree did no such thing;
    He smiled to hear their whispering.

    “Come, children, all to bed,” he cried;
    And ere the leaves could urge their prayer,
    He shook his head, and far and wide,
    Fluttering and rustling everywhere,
    Down sped the leaflets through the air.

    I saw them; on the ground they lay,
    Golden and red, a huddled swarm,
    Waiting till one from far away,
    White bedclothes heaped upon her arm,
    Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

    The great bare tree looked down and smiled,
    “Good-night, dear little leaves,” he said.
    And from below each sleepy child
    Replied, “Good-night,” and murmured,
    “It is so nice to go to bed!”

    And here is one poem that speaks of something that I saw Sophia do in a photo that her Mother gave to me. Written by Marian Kennedy it is entitled

    “A Bed in the Leaves”

    My yard is full of leaves today,
    Brown and yellow and gold.
    I think I’ll rake them in a pile
    Higher than my head.

    Then I’ll pretend it is my bed
    I’ll jump in very quick,
    And pile their leaves up over me
    For covers soft and thick

    I’ll just lie there so nice and warm
    And look up in the sky,
    And watch more leaves float down for me
    To rake up bye and bye.

    The next poem can be sung to the tune of Jingle Bells (ask someone, like your Mom, to help you with this), and it is called

    “Leaves are Falling”

    Leaves are Falling,
    Leaves are falling,
    One fell on my nose!

    Leaves are falling,
    Leaves are falling,
    One fell on my toes!

    Leaves are falling,
    Leaves are falling,
    One fell on my head!

    Leaves are falling,
    leaves are falling,
    Yellow, orange and red!

    The last poem which also can be sung, but this time to the tune of The Grand Old Duke of York, is entitled

    “The Frisky Little Squirrel”

    Oh, the frisky little squirrel,
    He gathers nuts and seeds,
    He hides them for the winter months,
    so he’ll have all he needs!

    Oh, up, up, up he goes,
    [raise hand with pointed finger up as if going up the tree]
    And down, down, down he comes,
    [finger down and bring hand down]
    He runs around, goes up and down,
    [point finger down and make a circle, then up and down]
    His work is never done!

    Oh, up, up, up he goes,
    [raise hand with pointed finger up as if going up the tree]
    And down, down, down he comes,
    [finger down and bring hand down]
    He runs around, goes up and down,
    [point finger down and make a circle, then up and down]
    His work is never done!

    There are many, many more poems like these that one day you can search for in the library books or on the Web. Many of them are accompanied by beautiful pictures and also photos taken from various locations where the four seasons look their best. It is so much fun to get involved in the various activities to which the four seasons lent themselves. This is one way of attuning ourselves to the wonderful rhythms of nature, which is one but never the same all year round. Hope you spend this Autumn, with your parents, brother and friends, a lot of time in your backyard or the park, where birds and animals together enjoy themselves living through the wonderful and colourful season of Autumn!

    To Cousin Paul’s words I would like only to add that I am looking forward to spend this particular Autumn, as many days as possible, celebrating together with you the natural wonders of this most magnificent and colourful season!

    Your friend,

  3. Dear Sophia,

    Today something extraordinary happened. When I went to check my mailbox I found an anonymous letter. Anonymous means unsigned; if I did not sign this letter with my name Wendy it would be an anonymous letter, a thing I usually never do. Rather than a letter proper which ordinarily comes in a sealed envelope, this one came loose; so it was rather a piece of paper on which something was written. Although whoever wrote it did not sign it, I immediately recognized the hand of Cousin Paul. He has a certain way of writing the letters r and t that immediately betray his hand. The other thing missing from this letter was an address, and as a result it seemed to imply that it was sent to more than just one person. Being not certain if you got it, I decided to transcribe it in its entirety for you. To the title I want you to add the words: ‘from an unpublished manuscript in the hand of Cousin Paul’, because I assure you that this is what it is, and should Cousin Paul deny it tell him to come and talk to me.

    Hermes the Dragonfly On a Mission

    They are slender, with an elongated body,
    Multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong
    Transparent wings: the hindwing broader,
    Narrower the forewing. Is it for balance? Perhaps!
    They possess six legs, but, alas, cannot walk!

    Such are by nature the dragonflies and damselflies.
    They breed and live where dampness is prevalent:
    Lakes, ponds, streams, marshes, bogs, wetlands.

    They satisfy their paltry appetites with ants,
    Mosquitoes, flies, bees, wasps, and on their menu
    Figure also at times some absent-minded butterflies.

    But not everything goes the dragonflies’ way
    As they in turn become targets of hungry birds,
    Lizards, frogs, spiders, fish, water bugs,
    And of larger dragonflies to boot.

    It was on a sunny afternoon that to one
    Of the many couples nesting on the waters
    Of the creek in Dundas Valley Park,
    An egg hatched into a nymph, forthwith
    Steadying itself on a floating oak leaf.

    This one did not wait for the statutory
    Up to five years time to act independently.
    But only took it three months before
    It was ready to move off and fly on its own.

    Hermes it was named in honour of an ancient
    Greek deity who by the name of Mercury
    To the Latins was known. Famed was he
    For being speedy in delivering messages
    To whom it might be concerned, far and near.

    To this Hermes so tender in age but so fit
    All that moves and breathes in the Dundas Park
    Entrusted a particularly weighty assignment,
    To deliver to their Princess Sophia a message.

    Intelligence showed that this sunny afternoon
    The Princess was resting on the lawn
    Of Her house on the Hill. She just finished
    Playing with her brother Simon in the backyard.

    They built castles in the sandbox, spent glorious time
    On the slides and swings, climbing ladders,
    Splashed in the pool like lively ducklings,
    Chased to exhaustion each other around a bush.

    Tired out Sophia threw Herself on the green turf
    Allowing Her body to be overtaken by a blissful
    Rest. Her eyes scanned the sky above,
    Where ravens and eagles were hovering, themselves
    Scanning the ground below on the lookout
    For vulnerable small and large preys.

    In the trees around Her Sophia heard the birds
    Chirp and tunefully their songs intone,
    Inhaling the fresh air blowing from the lake:
    They all were competing as to who could best
    With their innate skills their Princess entertain.

    Oh, how peaceful it was! With only the breeze
    Gently caressing the surroundings and Her.

    Suddenly in total silence Hermes, the herald
    Dragonfly, from the denizens of Dundas Valley Park
    With a message from the Grand Assembly to Sophia
    The Princess respectfully approached.

    Into Her ears Hermes whispered the words,
    Which were encrypted in its fore- and
    Hindwings. They said: ‘The Grand Assembly of All
    That Breathes and Moves in the Park, aka Princess Sophia’s
    Not-by-Human-Hands-Made Palace,
    Has unanimously resolved to empower me, Hermes,
    The speedy dragonfly, to deliver this message to you:
    “Our dearest Princess! Since you took over
    The reins of power in our Park
    Peace and Liberty has to our advantage set in.

    We all know and respect our rights. The strong do
    No harm to the weak. The less gifted are not jealous
    Of those who are naturally more accomplished.
    The place we dwell is like a symphony well attuned
    To the times and seasons all year round.

    We do not take such a blissful situation for granted,
    For well we know what chaos, turmoil and struggle
    Before you arrived we all have been subjected to.
    So, through the services of our beloved Hermes,
    The speedy dragonfly, accept our words of thanks,
    Continuous allegiance and loyalty to your benign reign”’.

    Sophia attentively took in the message from All
    That Breathes and Moves in Dundas Valley Park.
    She thanked Hermes, the speedy dragonfly, and
    On its fore- and hindwings the words of thanks
    And appreciation to her subjects in the Park conveyed:

    ‘It is a great honour and pleasure’, she wrote, ‘to be
    your princess since so kind and good-natured are you all.
    I immensely treasure every moment and time
    I spend in your company listening to you and
    Seeing your many talents and gifts on display’.

    On the faraway horizon the sun was setting
    Plunging into darkness one part of the orb,
    And preparing to send its life giving rays to the other
    Where all that was alive was readying to start
    Another very busy and eventful day.

    The anonymous handwritten page, but most certainly in the hand of Cousin Paul, ends here. After the last words there are some little drawings, I am not certain by whom, in which are depicted the park, the route Hermes, the speedy dragonfly, took to reach you, and over the dots of its path there are some numbers. If I understand correctly they indicate the time it took Hermes to fly each way: one minute and thirty seven seconds to reach you and one minute to return to the place of the Grand Assembly. I presume that took the dragonfly longer to get to you because Hermes was not quite sure where exactly you were that afternoon.

    With my best love,

  4. Dear Sophia,

    it is Wendy, your friend, writing to you, this time to tell you that the other day when I saw Cousin Paul he was writing something on his computer. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he asked me to come a bit later after he had finished his work. I was rather surprised by his request but did not question it and went to play with some of my other friends. Before long Cousin Paul joined us, with a piece of paper in his hands. Before I show you what he has written Cousin Paul wants me to explain to you the meaning of the word ‘audience’ which he uses in his poem.

    The word audience has basically to do with something related to the word hearing or listening. Audiences are the people who in a theatre collectively attend to a performance and listen to what the actors on the stage are saying. By extension, audiences are the viewers of a television broadcast and the listeners to a radio program. You and I are often either watching television or listening to a radio broadcaast, hence we are audiences. In addition to these meanings the word audience can mean also a formal interview, a one-on-one meeting and conversation with someone who exercises certain authority, and it is this sense that Cousin Paul has in mind. In such cases we say that a person in authority gives or holds an audience for those in her charge. Here now is the poem that Cousin Paul wrote for you.

    An Audience Granted by the Princess in Dundas Valley Park

    It is morning. To its zenith the sun in the blue sky is climbing.
    Mattresses of green shrubs and grasses grow on either side of the paved path,
    Eagerly quenching are they their thirst with gallons of water from the sprinklers.
    Oscar, the black curly schnauzer with a leash around his neck, leads
    The company heading from the Hill to Dundas Valley Park.

    From high on the sky the celestial orb from millions of miles away
    With its golden rays caresses and energizes all that in the universe lives
    And has ever lived from millions and millions of years ago.

    The Park, better known as Princess Sophia’s palace, lies at the foot
    Of her house in the nearby Hill. The time has come for the Princess
    To allow all that acknowledges Her sovereign authority in the Park,
    A chance to voice if any there might be concerns, needs or grievances.

    This morning two cute baby squirrels, one gray another black,
    But of the same stock nonetheless, reverently bow to their Princess.
    Then starts the first, Meg is her name:
    ‘Adorable Princess, you do not know how much we miss you when
    You are not around; it seems as though a big gap had opened up in the forest.
    Liberties are taken by many a denizen and even chance visitors to the Park
    Who seem to have nothing better to do than to threaten and harass us.

    For one, the big-eyed owls pry into our cozy nests, fancying a delicious meal.
    It is only when we remind them of your name that they desist
    And take their ravenous appetites elsewhere.
    Other times are stray dogs, cats, wandering foxes, or even weasels
    Who with their most ominous gazes take aim at us.
    It is only our dexterity and alertness that keeps them at bay and makes sure
    That next time my brother and I will still be speaking to you.’

    To his sister’s words, adds Gord, which is what the black squirrel’s name is,
    ‘Kind Princess, all what my sister has said I wholeheartedly endorse.
    But there is more one concern which I would like to voice:
    That is there also, although occasionally, but no less threateningly
    Eagles who with piercing eyes scan and threaten us from the air. Swift
    They are unceremoniously pounding from above on their hapless preys,
    As all too well you know. They sport sharp claws and matchless accuracy
    With which they secure each time a delicious meal for themselves.
    It is only the timely warning of our parents that make them miss the mark.’

    Answers the Princess to both young squirrels: ‘Beloved dwellers of the Park:
    All is very true what you tell me. But such are the laws in the world of nature
    That for survival we all depend on each other to the point that even
    In order for one to survive another must be sacrificed. However, it would
    Be cruelty were it not that everyone, from the smallest to the biggest,
    Has a natural means of protecting and defending themselves.

    So please exercise and for your defense and protection resort to
    What nature has provided you with against all aggressors,
    Ravenous marauders and prowlers. Dispatch them to satisfy their savage
    Appetites on any but your account. Your keen instinct of detection,
    Alertness and speed are your best weapons which will ensure
    That you have a long and happy life.’

    Seeing that her explanation and assurances brought serenity
    To the faces of the two worried siblings, the Princess got down
    From the swing from which she has been entertaining their questions,
    Bade farewell to Meg and Gord and towards the exit gate, with Haddy
    In her hands and Oscar by her side to Her abode on the Hill she retreated.

    I hope you enjoyed this poem as much as I did. I particularly like the way the two little squirrels voiced their fears to their Princess. The park like the forest is home to so many things, not just plants, grasses and shrubs, which never are much of a threat because they are clawed to one spot. But it is the other wandering visitors or call them intruders, like in the case of the squirrels were the owls, eagles, dogs and cats who sometime without warning show up and pose a threat. This is why it is good to learn from someone more experienced than us how to cope in such circumstances. Our dads and moms are the best sources and resources for us to get advice from and means of protecting ourselves from all kinds of danger, especially when we are outdoors.

    Until my next letter,

  5. Hello Sophia,

    This is a letter from your friend Wendy. To be a friend means to feel good about someone, to like what they like, to share and spend with them as much time as possible. We call somebody friend if we like talking to them, playing with them, dancing or laughing together with them. Friends are those with whom we do things together and have fun with. I am sure you have many friends who come to play with you or to whose house you go to play with. I am very honoured that you have added my name to your list and circle of friends.

    I first met you, Sophia, when you were just born, hours after you came out of your mommy’s tummy. That is what being born means, to come out of mommy’s belly and see for the first time the light of the day. The day of your birth was the Sixth of January, only six days after the new 2009 year started. I remember that you were very cute and adorable, and everyone who saw you wanted to call you Princess before they knew that your name will be Sophia Eliza. Sophia itself is a lovely name which means wise, intelligent, smart. Eliza is short for Elizabeth, the name of the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II; it means God is fullness.

    Do you know why people have names? The simplest reason is so that one person could be distinguished from another. Without personal names no one could tell one person from another. You would never know that this letter is for you if I did not add after the word ‘hello’ your name, Sophia. Also by naming someone we leave no doubts that it is them and not someone else that we want to address, talk to or play with. I am sure you know by name several people your age with whom you like to spend time. One of those is your little brother Simon. Besides their proper names some people have nicknames derived from some of the characteristics that distinguish them. In your case, when you were born, almost everyone started to call you Princess because there was something so beautiful and special about you.

    Cousin Paul (remember him? He is the one who wrote in your name the poem when your mom was chosen last year Mom of the Year), this same Cousin Paul asked me to pass on to you the following poem which he wrote to celebrate your Sixth of January birthday.

    To the Princess in the House on a Hill by Dundas Valley Park

    Unglamorously moves the car alongside brick houses, sidewalks
    And many a tree, on each side of its winding path,
    Until it reaches the abode of the Princess of the Valley.
    Not in a palace ornamented with rich gold and marbles she resides.
    Crown, pearls and diamonds she wears none: all such trimmings
    Excel and shine one moment, vanish without trace the next
    From sight and memory. And they bring shame on all those
    Who by illegitimate means appropriate them as their own.

    But inalienable is the beauty, indestructible the charms and wisdom
    Which Mother Nature has bestowed on Sophia to own and wear.
    Treasures they are all of a kind that no mortal can destroy or steal.
    Sophia they have called you; lovely name which signifies wisdom, intelligence,
    And all that is noble and coveted by many denizens of the earth.

    By birth the Princess of the Dundas Valley Park is multitalented.
    She can move her body to the rhythms of exquisite music.
    Her voice enchants those with whom she communes
    Or when she sings the songs she herself composes.
    Day and night it is not Crypton but Haddi, the dog, her only guard:
    Beloved is he with whom she shares many of her secrets,
    With whom she eagerly plays, sleeps, never letting him depart
    Nor being released from the gentle grip of her royal hands.

    When days are sunny, blue the sky and friendly the breeze,
    The Princess is ushered into her palace, Dundas Valley Park.
    A palace not built or furnished by human hands.
    There are no Persian rugs for her feet to step on.
    Only lush tall grasses and clovers luxuriating in shades of dark green
    Offer graciously comfort to her feet. She is eager to spend time
    In the playground, brimming with exuberant happiness and joy.

    Guards dressed in fancy livery the eyes cannot spot.
    But behold! Tall majestic trees with flowers ornamented,
    Flanked by lush shrubs hosting myriad butterflies
    Extend to her a welcome and relief from the incandescent sun.

    Sophia has her Mom and Brother by her side.

    Harmless crawlers, fidgety squirrels, fish, birds aplenty
    Welcome her at the gate. There is no need for hired musicians,
    Who in days of yore in the rich nobles’ courts entertained their guests
    With sounds of hand-made lifeless chords and strings.

    But there are thrushes and cardinals with mellifluous voices,
    Chirping robins, along with mild mannered sparrows,
    Cooing gentle doves, and even the not so friendly blackbirds,
    Who strenuously vie to welcome and entertain their Princess.

    There are slides with swings and titter totters to pass excitedly
    The time imagining of being free to take off and fly into the blue sky.

    In the scion of the ancient glaciers, the stream that flows below,
    Winding its way to the lake through Dundas Valley Park,
    On whose surface reflected is the Princess’ image,
    Blending her with all that is now no longer past and distant,
    But an overwhelming experience and ecstasy of the here-and-now.

    If it is cold and wintery the season, and the snow carpets the grasses
    And clovers, and decks the savanna oaks and pines in gentle mantle
    Of the flakes that are boundlessly coming down from the sky:
    Princess Sophia feels very much at home, deliriously with joy
    Sliding down the snow covered mounds and slopes of the Park,
    With Oscar, her black curly dog, leaping high above the ground,
    Trying to catch the snow which she tosses off into the air,
    For him to play and have fun with.

    Sophia, Cousin Paul says that he could go on and on describing the many ways in which you like to play outdoors. He suggests that perhaps we could include in the list of your friends all the grasses, trees, shrubs, flowers, all the birds, fish, butterflies, dragon-flies and the host of other creatures that make their home in Dundas Valley Park. I am sure that all of them would very much like this to be done since they highly appreciate and enjoy your company during your year round visits to Dundas Valley Park.

    Until I write you again!

    Your friend,

  6. Dear Sophia,

    I told my Cousin Paul that your Mom was named Mom of the Year. Paul got very excited saying that this is a very great honour to be chosen from close to 17,000 other moms from across Canada. To celebrate such a great event Cousin Paul wrote in your name the following poem:

    From Sophia to Her Mom, the 2012 Mom of the Year

    Cares the mother for the baby which in her womb to life springs,
    And when wrapped in the warmth of her arms it clings to her breast,
    Seeking what gives it life and makes it unceasingly thrive.
    Life’s bond remains strong not through change severed.

    Newly awaken eyes seek the time tested gaze
    Of the one who behind the scenes and on the world stage
    Is central to its being like the sun is to the orbiting stars and planets,
    Distinct they are but with mysterious bonds attached to what makes them shine.

    Like the enchanting music of an orchestra never ceases to amaze:
    How in the multiplicity of sounds there seems to be but one chord.
    Such are the mothers in nature’s astounding variety of forms,
    Expressing the sameness and rich variety in life’s boundless pool.

    Not for one year only she is the best Mom which I will ever know
    But every moment since on the world’s stage I set my feet.
    During the day she is like that sun which maintains all that lives,
    And in the night she is like the moon that in tranquility and peace
    Let us all comfortably in our cozy beds rest and sleep.

    When I said to Cousin Paul that I liked his poem, and that also my Mom and Dad like it, Cousin Paul said to me that when you and I are grown ups as he is, we will be writing better poems than he. He also said that he wanted you to feel as if this poem were written by you, not him. He wants you to offer it to your Mom in token for all that your Mom has been doing for you since before and after your birth.

    Hope to come and see you soon. In the meantime I give you all my love.

    Your friend,

  7. Dear Sophia,

    Since my Mom and Dad often call me ‘Bundle of Energy’, I decided to ask my Uncle Ted what does bundle of energy mean. Uncle Ted is kind of a funny guy. He teaches at an university and every day around the house he wears a tie. Nobody else does that. My Dad and other people I know are more casual. Only on special occasions or when they go out to an event they put on a tie. But they never wear it every single day of the week, especially not in the house. So when I approached Uncle Ted with my question I could see a gleam of satisfaction on his face. He immediately made a gesture as if he wanted to tighten up his tie, although the tie was already tight enough. Then he asked me to sit beside him on a chair which was used only by him on solemn occasions like the one he was facing right one. School and university teachers like if someone asks them questions. This gives them occasion, and also the satisfaction to show how much they know, or indicates their desire to share their vast knowledge with others. I can never decide which of the two motivates my Uncle.

    ‘So Wendy (Wendy is my personal name), you would like to know the meaning of the phrase ‘bundle of energy’.’ Now here, Sophia, you can see how he refers to ‘Bundle of Energy’ as a phrase. Phrase is a group of words that when used together have a particular meaning.

    ‘Yes, Uncle’, I answered, ‘ I would like very much to know what ‘Bundle of Energy’ means since especially my Mom and Dad instead of calling me Wendy, call me ‘Bundle of Energy’. This has become, as it were, my second name’.

    ‘Aha’, Uncle Ted gleaming even more on his face started to say. ‘I find this very interesting and may I say appropriate since I too often felt like calling you ‘Bundle of Energy’.

    ‘But why, Uncle Ted’, I persisted.

    ‘Well, Wendy’, was his answer, ‘people tend to call other people by a word or name when they see in them something that occurs more often than once. When someone you know displays certain characteristics repeatedly, then they want to refer to them by words that express that. In your case, Wendy, your Mom and Dad who see you every day and every single hour of the day, notice how lively and animated you are, full of life and energy. Instead of just sitting down in the room you move around, running and dancing, or go outside to play games, like to throw and bounce the ball, jump, go on the slide or swing, and do others things that keep you constantly busy and moving, you then are a ‘Bundle of Energy’.

    Now Uncle Ted could not just stop at this. All of a sudden he seemed to think I was one of his students in his class and started to explain every word.

    ‘“Bundle” Wendy means anything that is more than one. When you have more than one cloth in a pile you call it ‘bundle of clothes’, or when in winter you put on more than one piece of cloth, you bundle up. It could also be a bundle of papers if you have more than one sheet of paper. But the word bundle can also apply to someone’s behaviour, when someone is, for instance, time and again very lively and active, likes to be involved in an activity such as playing, walking, jumping. So this is what the word bundle stand for: for the repetition of anything a person shows or does. In your case you have been called not just a bundle but a bundle of energy’.

    At this point Mom walked into the room and, seeing Uncle Ted himself looking like a bundle of energy, asked if she could make him a drink of coffee or tea. She also asked me whether I was ready for a glass of milkshake to which I answered, ‘Yes Mommy, and could I have the larger size today’. My Mom usually gives me just a small milkshake. However, today because I was busy listening to Uncle Ted she gladly agreed to give me the larger size.

    While Uncle Ted took just a sip of his coffee, for that was what he asked for, I took the longest sip of my milkshake. You know, Sophia, this is what I do every time. I cannot take just one gulp of milkshake. I have to suck it for as long as I can feeling in my throat the rich sweet taste of milk and chocolate. Being always very polite Uncle Ted did not resume talking until I stopped sipping my milkshake. Then he looked up to the ceiling, tightened up again his tie to the point that he grew red on his face, and said:

    ‘Wendy, my dear. Allow me now to explain to you the word “energy”. This is a rather difficult term, but it is very useful to know what is its exact meaning. Energy is everything around us that moves like the wind, the water in the rivers and creeks, the people and animals that bustle with life. Energy is also all what grows. Good examples are the grass, trees and plants that start from a little seed, then grow big covering themselves with green foliage and blossom in beautiful flowers. Energy is in the water of the rivers and creeks that constantly move, in the birds that fly, chirp and sing from morning till evening. All this occurs all the time without stopping. So when people refer to you as ‘Bundle of Energy’, they mean to say that you are like those plants and trees, birds and fish always on the move, always doing something’.

    At this point I got so entranced with my Uncle Ted’s explanations that I put my milkshake aside and jumped on my feet.

    ‘Uncle Ted, I thank you so much for explaining to me what the phrase “Bundle of Energy” means’.

    I went then into the kitchen where my Mom was and said, ‘Mom, you are a bundle of energy too’. My Mom turn to me visibly surprised by being called ‘Bundle of Energy’ and said, ‘Wendy, tell me what do you mean? Dad and I thought that those words applied only to you’.

    ‘No, Mom’ (I think this is the first time I said “no” to my Mom), ‘both you and Dad are also bundles of energy. You do every day many of the same things. Dad goes to work every day, you every single day care for me that I have everything I need, like meals, clean clothes, teach me so many things in order that I can be happy, know how to deal with other people and make them happy too’.

    My Mom, because she was so astonished to hear all what I was saying to her, immediately went to the living room where Uncle Ted was still sipping his coffee, and said, ‘Very well, Ted, great job you have done to explain to Wendy the phrase ‘Bundle of Energy’. Honestly myself I was not aware of all what it meant’.

    At this point I could see on Uncle Ted’s face a broad smile. He tried to clear his throat, although his voice was not hoarse, and simply said to my Mom, ‘Thank you, Adeline’ (this is my Mom’s name by which of course I never call her. By the way she is Uncle Ted’s older sister). I am glad you appreciate it’.

    At that very moment my Dad returned from work and while he was hanging his hat and coat I ran to him exclaiming ‘Daddy, you too are a Bundle of Energy’. There was bewilderment on his face since he never before heard me saying such words. My Mom smiling said to my Dad, ’Albert (this is my Dad’s name), have your supper now and afterwards I will explain to you what happened’.

    After supper and after Uncle Ted retired to his room my Dad with outstretched arms came to me saying, ‘Dear Wendy, for us you are not only a ‘Bundle of Energy’, but also a ‘Bundle of Joy’. I shall see if from now on I will hear them calling me ‘Bundle of Energy and Joy’. About this I will let you know in another letter.

    My letter to you, Sophia, has been rather long. But before I finish could you ask your Mom whether or not you are also to her a ‘Bundle of Energy and Joy’. Next time actually you do not have to tell me what was your Mom’s reply for knowing you so well I know that you are also a ‘Bundle of Energy and Joy’. This is why I like you, Sophia, so much because there is so much fun and so much goes on whenever I spend my time with you.


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