Manual Letters to My Children

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And I love to see the way that you light up when you learn something new and interesting. This year, you grew to be taller than me. I didn't know that would happen so soon. I have such mixed feelings about the man you are becoming. I am so proud of you for being smart and loving and courageous.

But I'm not ready for you to be so grown up already. I see the little boys wearing clothes that you wore not so long ago and I remember you as a small child.


You loved to crawl into bed with me in the morning and play with my hair. You loved to sing songs, read your bible, and recite your favorite books before bed. You taught yourself to read when you were just three! I can't tell you how much of my heart you fill, but I can tell you I would be empty without you. I feel like we grew up together.

I was only 22 when you were born. There is something very special about the relationship that we have. I hope that I have been a good Mom to you. I know that I have not been a perfect mom all of the time. Sometimes it's hard to be the oldest child I know, because I was one. Your parents are learning how to be parents. I know I have learned a lot raising you and I know I will continue to learn. You still have so much to teach me about being a good parent. I just wanted you to know how much I love you on this Valentine's Day, My world is so much better because you are here.

I can't imagine my life without you being a part of it. Thank you for being an amazing son. Thank you for helping me so much with your chores and when I need assistance with the other kids. Thank you for being patient with me and for accepting my apologies with grace when I haven't been patient with you. You are incredible. Never forget that. And never forget that I am always here when you need me.

I love you, Buddy! I dreamed of you for so long. For 5 years, I thought you would never come, but God finally brought you into our life. You were so worth the wait! The nurses brought you to me with a tiny pink bow in your hair. I had never seen anything more beautiful in the entire world.

You made our family feel complete. Little did I know that in the next 4 years, God would give us 3 more babies and you would be such an amazing big sister.

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You are always there to help me feed and change and cuddle the little ones. You have an inate ability to be nurturing and loving. I have to admit, you're more stubborn and hard-headed than I ever knew a child could be. Your Papa says I was the same way, so I guess it's only fair. This toughness will be an asset to you as you grow older, but I pray it will not become a stumbling block in your life.

I know my own stubborn tendencies have caused me some trouble over the years. You are strong and beautiful and you have such a sweet heart. This year on Christmas Eve, you wrapped up a box full of your own jewelry and hair bows and gave it to me. Standing there in front of our extended family, you said very proudly: "I'm giving you this because I know that Christmas is not about the gifts we give, it's about LOVE.

I will never forget that night. You have already learned the greatest lesson of all. I pray that you will never forget that. My relationship with you is so different than what I have with the boys. Sometimes we clash, but I think that's just a girl thing. I hope that you know that I love you so incredibly much. My life would be empty without you.

You make me smile and laugh every day. You make me so proud of you in everything you do. You make my heart do flip-flops when I see you helping with the little ones or dancing around the house. I love that you are such a girly-girl, but you can really hold your own with the boys. And you can climb a tree with the best of them. You are everything that is good in this world.

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Examples of Love Letters for Kids | WeHaveKids

I hope you are proud to have me as your Mom. I know I haven't always been a great mom, but I want to be. I promise I will try hard every day to make you proud of me. Because I am so proud to call you my daughter. I love you, Sweetheart! The day I found out you would be joining our family was such a happy one! I couldn't believe that God was going to bless me with another child and I couldn't wait to hold you in my arms.

From the day you were born, you have been so laid back and quiet.

A Letter to My Children

You slept through the night so quickly, didn't ever cry and loved when I sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star And you still love when I sing to you. I love everything about you. You are so wonderful in so many ways. You have a natural gift for music and could hum songs back to me when you were 9 months old. You are so smart and you have learned so much from your brother and sister You can already spell and write your name, you know your alphabet and you know all your numbers up to I'm so proud of you! But besides being smart, you have the sweetest heart and I love how you wake up earlier than everyone else just so you can snuggle with me before everyone else wakes up.

I love how you take care of your baby sister. You are her favorite and I love how she laughs when you play with her. She saves that laugh for you! Sometimes you feel sad and it hurts my heart to see you like that. I know it's hard to be the middle child and I always try to give you extra love and extra time. I hope you never feel like you are treated differently or less. I know it's hard to not be the baby anymore, but it's also hard to not be big enough to do some of the things your older siblings do. Just know that you are loved deeply and completely. Your smile lights up my life!

I look forward to every day I wake up and see your precious face. I love watching you learn and play. And I love that you are my child the most. God gave me a special gift when He gave you to me and I'm so glad that he chose me to be your Mom. I love you, My J! My sweet boy, you have been such a joy in my life. You were born into our family in the peaceful quiet of an early winter morning. Your daddy was the very first to hold you, lifting you out of the warm water of the birth tub.

Having you at home was the most amazing experience of my entire life. Less than an hour after you were born, I was snuggling with you in front of our warm woodstove. You were such a quiet, happy baby You never cried, just called out patiently when you needed me. A dream baby, for sure! Now that you are older and coming into your own, you are not so quiet!

But you are even more loveable every day. You are growing out of being a baby and you are starting to work your way in with the older kids. But I love that you still crawl up on my lap and suck on your thumb while we snuggle. You also just got your big boy bed and I am so proud that you know how to stay in it! You are just the right mix of independence and sweetness and I can't wait to see the young man you grow up to be. You are my 4th child, but loved equally and infinitely. Some people think that a mom can't love more than one or two children, but you have proven to me beyond doubt that love expands and cannot be diminished.

There will never be an end to my love for you, baby boy. Keep smiling and laughing I love you so much! My sweet baby girl, where do I start? I look at you and every part of me melts. I have a gold top which I shall give you if mother thinks you can take care of it. Perhaps I shall give you a silver bell instead. Whenever I see a little boy being brought up by his father or mother to look at the procession as we pass by, I think of you and Archie and feel very homesick.

Sometimes little boys ride in the procession on their ponies, just like Archie on Algonquin. Writing Senator Lodge on June 6, , describing his return to the White House from his western trip, the President said:. Fortunately his temper seems proof. To-day is Edith's birthday, and the children have been too cunning in celebrating it.

By Theodore Roosevelt

Ethel had hemstitched a little handkerchief herself, and she had taken her gift and the gifts of all the other children into her room and neatly wrapped them up in white paper and tied with ribbons. They were for the most part taken down-stairs and put at her plate at breakfast time. Then at lunch in marched Kermit and Ethel with a cake, burning forty-two candles, and each candle with a piece of paper tied to it purporting to show the animal or inanimate object from which the candle came. Edith is very well this summer and looks so young and pretty. She rides with us a great deal and loves Yagenka as much as ever.

We also go out rowing together, taking our lunch and a book or two with us. The children fairly worship her, as they ought to, for a more devoted mother never was known. The children themselves are as cunning and good as possible. Ted is nearly as tall as I am and as tough and wiry as you can imagine. He is a really good rider and can hold his own in walking, running, swimming, shooting, wrestling, and boxing. Kermit is as cunning as ever and has developed greatly. He and his inseparable Philip started out for a night's camping in their best the other day.

A driving storm came up and they had to put back, really showing both pluck, skill and judgment. They reached home, after having been out twelve hours, at nine in the evening. Archie continues devoted to Algonquin and to Nicholas. They wrestle, shoot, swim, play tennis, and go off on long expeditions in the boats. Quenty-quee has cast off the trammels of the nursery and become a most active and fearless though very good-tempered little boy.

Really the children do have an ideal time out here, and it is an ideal place for them. The three sets of cousins are always together. I am rather disconcerted by the fact that they persist in regarding me as a playmate. This afternoon, for instance, was rainy, and all of them from George, Ted, Lorraine and Ethel down to Archibald, Nicholas and Quentin, with the addition of Aleck Russell and Ensign Hamner, came to get me to play with them in the old barn.

They plead so hard that I finally gave in, but upon my word, I hardly knew whether it was quite right for the President to be engaged in such wild romping as the next two hours saw. The barn is filled with hay, and of course meets every requirement for the most active species of hide-and-seek and the like. Quentin enjoyed the game as much as any one, and would jump down from one hay level to another fifteen feet below with complete abandon.

I took Kermit and Archie, with Philip, Oliver and Nicholas out for a night's camping in the two rowboats last week. They enjoyed themselves heartily, as usual, each sleeping rolled up in his blanket, and all getting up at an unearthly hour. Also, as usual, they displayed a touching and firm conviction that my cooking is unequalled. It was of a simple character, consisting of frying beefsteak first and then potatoes in bacon fat, over the camp fire; but they certainly ate in a way that showed their words were not uttered in a spirit of empty compliment.

Archie and Nick continue inseparable. I wish you could have seen them the other day, after one of the picnics, walking solemnly up, jointly carrying a basket, and each with a captured turtle in his disengaged hand. Archie is a most warm-hearted, loving, cunning little goose. Quentin, a merry soul, has now become entirely one of the children, and joins heartily in all their plays, including the romps in the old barn. When Ethel had her birthday, the one entertainment for which she stipulated was that I should take part in and supervise a romp in the old barn, to which all the Roosevelt children, Ensign Hamner of the Sylph , Bob Ferguson and Aleck Russell were to come.

Of course I had not the heart to refuse; but really it seems, to put it mildly, rather odd for a stout, elderly President to be bouncing over hayricks in a wild effort to get to goal before an active midget of a competitor, aged nine years. One of our recent picnics was an innovation, due to Edith. We went in carriages or on horseback to Jane's Hill, some eight miles distant. The view was lovely, and there was a delightful old farmhouse half a mile away, where we left our horses.

His papers as Ambassador had finally come, and so he had turned up at Oyster Bay, together with the Acting Secretary of State, to present them. He appeared in what was really a very striking costume, that of a hussar. As soon as the ceremony was over, I told him to put on civilized raiment, which he did, and he spent a couple of days with me. We chopped, and shot, and rode together.

He was delighted with Wyoming, and, as always, was extremely nice to the children. The other day all the children gave amusing amateur theatricals, gotten up by Lorraine and Ted. The acting was upon Laura Roosevelt's tennis court. All the children were most cunning, especially Quentin as Cupid, in the scantiest of pink muslin tights and bodice. Ted and Lorraine, who were respectively George Washington and Cleopatra, really carried off the play.

At the end all the cast joined hands in a song and dance, the final verse being devoted especially to me. I love all these children and have great fun with them, and I am touched by the way in which they feel that I am their special friend, champion, and companion. To-day all, young and old, from the three houses went with us to Service on the great battleship Kearsarge —for the fleet is here to be inspected by me to-morrow. It was an impressive sight, one which I think the children will not soon forget. Most of the boys afterward went to lunch with the wretched Secretary Moody on the Dolphin.

Ted had the younger ones very much on his mind, and when he got back said they had been altogether too much like a March Hare tea-party, as Archie, Nicholas and Oliver were not alive to the dignity of the occasion. We have thought of you a good deal, of course. I am glad you have my rifle with you—you scamp, does it still have "those associations" which you alleged as the reason why you would value it so much when in the near future I became unable longer to use it? I do not have very much hope of your getting a great deal of sport on this trip, and anything you do get in the way of furred or feathered game and fishing I shall count as so much extra thrown in; but I feel the trip will teach you a lot in the way of handling yourself in a wild country, as well as of managing horses and camp outfits—of dealing with frontiersmen, etc.

It will therefore fit you to go on a regular camping trip next time. I have sternly refused to allow mother to ride Wyoming, on the ground that I would not have her make a martyr of herself in the shape of riding a horse with a single-foot gait, which she so openly detests. Accordingly, I have had some long and delightful rides with her, she on Yagenka and I on Bleistein, while Ethel and Kermit have begun to ride Wyoming. Kermit was with us this morning and got along beautifully till we galloped, whereupon Wyoming made up his mind that it was a race, and Kermit, for a moment or two, found him a handful.

On Sunday, after we came back from church and bathed, I rowed mother out to the end of Lloyds Neck, near your favorite camping ground. There we took lunch and spent a couple of hours with our books, reading a little and looking out over the beautiful Sound and at the headlands and white beaches of the coast.

We rowed back through a strange, shimmering sunset. I have played a little tennis since you left. Winty Chandler beat me two sets, but I beat him one. Russell beat me a long deuce set, 10 to 8. To-day the smaller children held their championship. Nick won a long deuce set from Archie, and to my surprise Oliver and Ethel beat Kermit and Philip in two straight sets. I officiated as umpire and furnished the prizes, which were penknives.

The house seems very empty without you and Ted, although I cannot conscientiously say that it is quiet—Archie and Quentin attend to that. Archie, barefooted, bareheaded, and with his usual faded blue overalls, much torn and patched, has just returned from a morning with his beloved Nick. Quentin has passed the morning in sports and pastimes with the long-suffering secret service men. Allan has been associating closely with mother and me. Yesterday Ethel went off riding with Lorraine. She rode Wyoming, who is really turning out a very good family horse. Mother is as busy as possible putting up the house, and Ethel and I insist that she now eyes us both with a purely professional gaze, and secretly wishes she could wrap us up in a neatly pinned sheet with camphor balls inside.

Good-bye, blessed fellow! Tell Sheffield that Quentin is now going to the public school. As yet he has preserved an attitude of dignified reserve concerning his feelings on the subject. He has just been presented with two white rabbits, which he brought in while we were at lunch yesterday, explaining that they were "the valuablest kind with pink eyes. I was very glad to get your letter. Am glad you are playing football. I should be very sorry to see either you or Ted devoting most of your attention to athletics, and I haven't got any special ambition to see you shine overmuch in athletics at college, at least if you go there , because I think it tends to take up too much time; but I do like to feel that you are manly and able to hold your own in rough, hardy sports.

I would rather have a boy of mine stand high in his studies than high in athletics, but I could a great deal rather have him show true manliness of character than show either intellectual or physical prowess; and I believe you and Ted both bid fair to develop just such character. I suppose I have a natural tendency to preach just at present because I am overwhelmed with my work. I enjoy being President, and I like to do the work and have my hand on the lever.

But it is very worrying and puzzling, and I have to make up my mind to accept every kind of attack and misrepresentation.

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It is a great comfort to me to read the life and letters of Abraham Lincoln. I am more and more impressed every day, not only with the man's wonderful power and sagacity, but with his literally endless patience, and at the same time his unflinching resolution. In spite of the "Hurry! If it were not that I feel you will be so bitterly disappointed, I would strongly advocate your acquiescing in the decision to leave you off the second squad this year. I am proud of your pluck, and I greatly admire football—though it was not a game I was ever able to play myself, my qualities resembling Kermit's rather than yours.

But the very things that make it a good game make it a rough game, and there is always the chance of your being laid up. Now, I should not in the least object to your being laid up for a season if you were striving for something worth while, to get on the Groton school team, for instance, or on your class team when you entered Harvard—for of course I don't think you will have the weight to entitle you to try for the 'varsity.

But I am by no means sure that it is worth your while to run the risk of being laid up for the sake of playing in the second squad when you are a fourth former, instead of when you are a fifth former. I do not know that the risk is balanced by the reward. However, I have told the Rector that as you feel so strongly about it, I think that the chance of your damaging yourself in body is outweighed by the possibility of bitterness of spirit if you could not play.

Understand me, I should think mighty little of you if you permitted chagrin to make you bitter on some point where it was evidently right for you to suffer the chagrin. But in this case I am uncertain, and I shall give you the benefit of the doubt. If, however, the coaches at any time come to the conclusion that you ought not to be in the second squad, why you must come off without grumbling. I am delighted to have you play football. I believe in rough, manly sports. But I do not believe in them if they degenerate into the sole end of any one's existence. I don't want you to sacrifice standing well in your studies to any over-athleticism; and I need not tell you that character counts for a great deal more than either intellect or body in winning success in life.

Athletic proficiency is a mighty good servant, and like so many other good servants, a mighty bad master. Did you ever read Pliny's letter to Trajan, in which he speaks of its being advisable to keep the Greeks absorbed in athletics, because it distracted their minds from all serious pursuits, including soldiering, and prevented their ever being dangerous to the Romans? I have not a doubt that the British officers in the Boer War had their efficiency partly reduced because they had sacrificed their legitimate duties to an inordinate and ridiculous love of sports. A man must develop his physical prowess up to a certain point; but after he has reached that point there are other things that count more.

In my regiment nine-tenths of the men were better horsemen than I was, and probably two-thirds of them better shots than I was, while on the average they were certainly hardier and more enduring. Yet after I had had them a very short while they all knew, and I knew too, that nobody else could command them as I could. I am glad you should play football; I am glad that you should box; I am glad that you should ride and shoot and walk and row as well as you do.

I should be very sorry if you did not do these things. But don't ever get into the frame of mind which regards these things as constituting the end to which all your energies must be devoted, or even the major portion of your energies. Yes, I am going to speak at Groton on prize day. I felt that while I was President, and while you and Kermit were at Groton I wanted to come up there and see you, and the Rector wished me to speak, and so I am very glad to accept.

By the way, I am working hard to get Renown accustomed to automobiles. He is such a handful now when he meets them that I seriously mind encountering them when Mother is along. Of course I do not care if I am alone, or with another man, but I am uneasy all the time when I am out with Mother.

Yesterday I tried Bleistein over the hurdles at Chevy Chase. The first one was new, high and stiff, and the old rascal never rose six inches, going slap through it. I took him at it again and he went over all right. I am very busy now, facing the usual endless worry and discouragement, and trying to keep steadily in mind that I must not only be as resolute as Abraham Lincoln in seeking to achieve decent ends, but as patient, as uncomplaining, and as even-tempered in dealing, not only with knaves, but with the well-meaning foolish people, educated and uneducated, who by their unwisdom give the knaves their chance.

I have received letters from the Rector, from Mr. Woods, and from Mr. They all say that you should play on the third squad, and Mr. Woods says you are now satisfied to do so. This was my first, and as I am convinced, my real judgment in the case. If you get mashed up now in a serious way it may prevent your playing later. As I think I wrote you, I do not in the least object to your getting smashed if it is for an object that is worth while, such as playing on the Groton team or playing on your class team when you get to Harvard. But I think it a little silly to run any imminent risk of a serious smash simply to play on the second squad instead of the third.

I am judging for you as I would for myself. When I was young and rode across country I was light and tough, and if I did, as actually happened, break an arm or a rib no damage ensued and no scandal was caused. Now I am stiff and heavy, and any accident to me would cause immense talk, and I do not take the chance; simply because it is not worth while. On the other hand, if I should now go to war and have a brigade as I had my regiment before Santiago, I should take any chance that was necessary; because it would be worth while.

In other words, I want to make the risk to a certain accident commensurate with the object gained. It is worth while being President when one's small daughter receives that kind of an autograph gift. When I was younger than she is, my Aunt Annie Bulloch, of Georgia, used to tell me some of the brer rabbit stories, especially brer rabbit and the tar baby. But fond though I am of the brer rabbit stories I think I am even fonder of your other writings. I doubt if there is a more genuinely pathetic tale in all our literature than "Free Joe. I know, of course, the ordinary talk is that an artist should be judged purely by his art; but I am rather a Philistine and like to feel that the art serves a good purpose.

Your art is not only an art addition to our sum of national achievement, but it has also always been an addition to the forces that tell for decency, and above all for the blotting out of sectional antagonism. I was much pleased at your being made captain of your eleven. I would rather have you captain of the third eleven than playing on the second.

Yesterday afternoon Ethel on Wyoming, Mother on Yagenka and I on Renown had a long ride, the only incident being meeting a large red automobile, which much shook Renown's nerves, although he behaved far better than he has hitherto been doing about automobiles. In fact, he behaved so well that I leaned over and gave him a lump of sugar when he had passed the object of terror—the old boy eagerly turning his head around to get it. It was lovely out in the country, with the trees at their very best of the fall coloring.

There are no red maples here, but the Virginia creepers and some of the dogwoods give the red, and the hickories, tulip trees and beeches a brilliant yellow, sometimes almost orange. When we got home Mother went up-stairs first and was met by Archie and Quentin, each loaded with pillows and whispering not to let me know that they were in ambush; then as I marched up to the top they assailed me with shrieks and chuckles of delight and then the pillow fight raged up and down the hall. After my bath I read them from Uncle Remus. Usually Mother reads them, but now and then, when I think she really must have a holiday from it, I read them myself.

I am really greatly pleased at your standing so high in your form, and I am sure that this year it is better for you to be playing where you are in football. I suppose next year you will go back to your position of end, as you would hardly be heavy enough for playing back, or to play behind the centre, against teams with big fellows. I repeat that your standing in the class gave me real pleasure. I have sympathized so much with your delight in physical prowess and have been so glad at the success you have had, that sometimes I have been afraid I have failed to emphasize sufficiently the fact that of course one must not subordinate study and work to the cultivation of such prowess.

By the way, I am sorry to say that I am falling behind physically. The last two or three years I have had a tendency to rheumatism, or gout, or something of the kind, which makes me very stiff. Renown is behaving better about automobiles and the like. I think the difference is largely in the way I handle him. He is a very good-natured and gentle horse, but timid and not over-wise, and when in a panic his great strength makes him well-nigh uncontrollable.

Accordingly, he is a bad horse to try to force by anything. If possible, it is much better to give him a little time, and bring him up as gently as may be to the object of terror. When he behaves well I lean forward and give him a lump of sugar, and now the old boy eagerly puts around his head when I stretch out my hand.

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Bleistein I have ridden very little, because I think one of his forelegs is shaky, and I want to spare him all I can. Mother and I have had the most lovely rides imaginable. Yesterday I felt rather seedy, having a touch of Cuban fever, my only unpleasant reminiscence of the Santiago campaign. Accordingly, I spent the afternoon in the house lying on the sofa, with a bright fire burning and Mother in the rocking-chair, with her knitting, beside me. I felt so glad that I was not out somewhere in the wilderness, campaigning or hunting, where I would have to walk or ride all day in the rain and then lie out under a bush at night!

When Allan will come from the trainer's I do not know. Rather to my surprise, Ronald has won golden opinions and really is a very nice dog. Pinckney loves him, and he sits up in the express wagon just as if it was what he had been born to. Quentin is learning to ride the pony. He had one tumble, which, he remarked philosophically, did not hurt him any more than when I whacked him with a sofa cushion in one of our pillow fights.

I think he will very soon be able to manage the pony by himself. Mother has just taken the three children to spend the afternoon at Dr. Rixey's farm. I am hard at work on my message to Congress, and accordingly shall not try to go out or see any one either this afternoon or this evening. All of this work is terribly puzzling at times, but I peg away at it, and every now and then, when the dust clears away and I look around, I feel that I really have accomplished a little, at any rate.

I think you stood well in your form, taking everything into account. I feel you deserve credit for being captain of your football eleven, and yet standing as high as you do in your class. On election day I saw the house, and it was all so lovely that I felt fairly homesick to be back in it. The Japanese maples were still in full leaf and were turning the most beautiful shades of scarlet imaginable. The old barn, I am sorry to say, seems to be giving away at one end.

Renown now behaves very well about automobiles, and indeed about everything. He is, however, a little touched in the wind. Bleistein, in spite of being a little shaky in one foreleg, is in splendid spirits and eager for any amount of go. When you get on here for the Christmas holidays you will have to try them both, for if there is any fox hunting I am by no means sure you will find it better to take Bleistein than Renown.

That was a funny trick which the Indians played against Harvard. Harvard did well to play such a successful uphill game in the latter part of the second half as to enable them to win out; but I do not see how she stands a chance of success against Yale this year. To-night while I was preparing to dictate a message to Congress concerning the boiling caldron on the Isthmus of Panama, which has now begun to bubble over, up came one of the ushers with a telegram from you and Ted about the football match. Instantly I bolted into the next room to read it aloud to mother and sister, and we all cheered in unison when we came to the Rah!

It was a great score. I wish I could have seen the game. They were in excellent health, lying around the door of Seaman's house, which they had evidently adopted as their own. Sailor Boy and Brier were exceedingly affectionate; Hector kindly, but uninterested.

Mother has gone off for nine days, and as usual I am acting as vice-mother. Archie and Quentin are really too cunning for anything. Each night I spend about three-quarters of an hour reading to them. Once I read them Jim Bludsoe, which perfectly enthralled them and made Quentin ask me at least a hundred questions, including one as to whether the colored boy did not find sitting on the safety valve hot.

I have also been reading them each evening from the Bible. It has been the story of Saul, David and Jonathan. They have been so interested that several times I have had to read them more than one chapter. Then each says his prayers and repeats the hymn he is learning, Quentin usually jigging solemnly up and down while he repeats it.

Each finally got one hymn perfect, whereupon in accordance with previous instructions from mother I presented each of them with a five-cent piece. Yesterday Saturday I took both of them and Ethel, together with the three elder Garfield boys, for a long scramble down Rock Creek. We really had great fun. I was much pleased at your being chosen captain of the Seventh.

I had not expected it. I rather suspect that you will be behind in your studies this month. If so, try to make up next month, and keep above the middle of the class if you can. I am interested in what you tell me about the Sir Galahads, and I shall want to talk to you about them when you come on. Mother is back with Aunt Emily, who looks very well. It is so nice to have her.

As for Mother, of course she makes the house feel like a home again, instead of like a temporary dwelling. Leo is as cunning as ever. Pinckney went to see Allan yesterday and said he found him "as busy as a bee in a tar barrel," and evidently owning all the trainer's house. He is not yet quite fit to come back here. To-day is Quentin's birthday. He has a cold, so he had his birthday cake, with the six candles, and his birthday ice-cream, in the nursery, with Ethel, Archie, Mother, Aunt Emily, myself, Mame and Georgette as admiring guests and onlookers.

It was very sad at Uncle Gracie's funeral; and yet lovely, too, in a way, for not only all his old friends had turned out, but all of the people connected with the institutions for which he had worked during so many years also came. There were a good many of the older boys and employees from the Newsboys' Lodging House and the Orthopaedic Dispensary, etc.

Uncle Jimmy possessed a singularly loving and affectionate nature, and I never knew any one who in doing good was more careful to do it unostentatiously. I had no idea how much he had done. Mother with her usual thoughtfulness had kept him steadily in mind while I have been Governor and President; and I now find that he appreciated her so much, her constant remembrances in having him on to visit us on different occasions. It was a lesson to me, for I should probably never have thought of it myself; and of course when one does not do what one ought to, the excuse that one erred from thoughtlessness instead of wrong purpose is of small avail.

The police arrangements at the church were exasperating to a degree. There were fully five hundred policemen in the streets round about, just as if there was danger of an attack by a ferocious mob; and yet though they had throngs of policemen inside, too, an elderly and harmless crank actually got inside with them to present me some foolish memorial about curing the German Emperor from cancer. Inasmuch as what we needed was, not protection against a mob, but a sharp lookout for cranks, the arrangement ought by rights to have been for fifty policemen outside and two or three good detectives inside.

I felt like a fool with all the policemen in solemn and purposeless lines around about; and then I felt half exasperated and half amused when I found that they were utterly helpless to prevent a crank from getting inside after all. They refer to a bit of unhappy advice I gave them, because of which I fell into richly merited disgrace with Mother.

Nick has been spending three days or so with Archie, and I suggested that they should explore the White House in the mirk of midnight.

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  4. They did, in white sheets, and, like little jacks, barefooted. Send me back the poems. If I were you I should certainly get the best ankle support possible. You do not want to find next fall that Webb beats you for end because your ankle gives out and his does not. If I were in your place, if it were necessary, I should put the ankle in plaster for the next three weeks, or for as long as the doctor thinks it needful, rather than run any risk of this.

    At any rate, I would consult him and wear whatever he thinks is the right thing. I wonder if you are old enough yet to care for a good history of the American Revolution. If so, I think I shall give you mine by Sir George Trevelyan; although it is by an Englishman, I really think it on the whole the best account I have read. If I give it to you you must be very careful of it, because he sent it to me himself. We had a delightful Christmas yesterday—just such a Christmas thirty or forty years ago we used to have under Father's and Mother's supervision in 20th street and 57th street.

    At seven all the children came in to open the big, bulgy stockings in our bed; Kermit's terrier, Allan, a most friendly little dog, adding to the children's delight by occupying the middle of the bed. From Alice to Quentin, each child was absorbed in his or her stocking, and Edith certainly managed to get the most wonderful stocking toys. Bob was in looking on, and Aunt Emily, of course. Then, after breakfast, we all formed up and went into the library, where bigger toys were on separate tables for the children. I wonder whether there ever can come in life a thrill of greater exaltation and rapture than that which comes to one between the ages of say six and fourteen, when the library door is thrown open and you walk in to see all the gifts, like a materialized fairy land, arrayed on your special table?

    Thursday and Friday there was a great deal of snow on the ground, and the weather was cold, so that Mother and I had two delightful rides up Rock Creek.

    An Open Letter to My Children

    The horses were clipped and fresh, and we were able to let them go along at a gallop, while the country was wonderfully beautiful. To-day, after lunch, Mother took Ethel, Archie and Quentin, each with a friend, to see some most wonderful juggling and sleight of hand tricks by Kellar.

    I went along and was as much interested as any of the children, though I had to come back to my work in the office before it was half through. At one period Ethel gave up her ring for one of the tricks. It was mixed up with the rings of five other little girls, and then all six rings were apparently pounded up and put into a pistol and shot into a collection of boxes, where five of them were subsequently found, each tied around a rose. Ethel's, however, had disappeared, and he made believe that it had vanished, but at the end of the next trick a remarkable bottle, out of which many different liquids had been poured, suddenly developed a delightful white guinea pig, squirming and kicking and looking exactly like Admiral Dewey, with around its neck Ethel's ring, tied by a pink ribbon.

    Then it was wrapped up in a paper, handed to Ethel; and when Ethel opened it, behold, there was no guinea pig, but a bunch of roses with a ring. This will be a long business letter. I sent to you the examination papers for West Point and Annapolis. I have thought a great deal over the matter, and discussed it at great length with Mother. I feel on the one hand that I ought to give you my best advice, and yet on the other hand I do not wish to seem to constrain you against your wishes.

    If you have definitely made up your mind that you have an overmastering desire to be in the Navy or the Army, and that such a career is the one in which you will take a really heart-felt interest—far more so than any other—and that your greatest chance for happiness and usefulness will lie in doing this one work to which you feel yourself especially drawn—why, under such circumstances, I have but little to say. But I am not satisfied that this is really your feeling. It seemed to me more as if you did not feel drawn in any other direction, and wondered what you were going to do in life or what kind of work you would turn your hand to, and wondered if you could make a success or not; and that you are therefore inclined to turn to the Navy or Army chiefly because you would then have a definite and settled career in life, and could hope to go on steadily without any great risk of failure.

    Now, if such is your thought, I shall quote to you what Captain Mahan said of his son when asked why he did not send him to West Point or Annapolis. I have great confidence in you. I believe you have the ability and, above all, the energy, the perseverance, and the common sense, to win out in civil life. That you will have some hard times and some discouraging times I have no question; but this is merely another way of saying that you will share the common lot.

    Though you will have to work in different ways from those in which I worked, you will not have to work any harder, nor to face periods of more discouragement. I trust in your ability, and especially your character, and I am confident you will win. In the Army and the Navy the chance for a man to show great ability and rise above his fellows does not occur on the average more than once in a generation. When I was down at Santiago it was melancholy for me to see how fossilized and lacking in ambition, and generally useless, were most of the men of my age and over, who had served their lives in the Army.

    The Navy for the last few years has been better, but for twenty years after the Civil War there was less chance in the Navy than in the Army to practise, and do, work of real consequence. I have actually known lieutenants in both the Army and the Navy who were grandfathers—men who had seen their children married before they themselves attained the grade of captain. Of course the chance may come at any time when the man of West Point or Annapolis who will have stayed in the Army or Navy finds a great war on, and therefore has the opportunity to rise high.

    Under such circumstances, I think that the man of such training who has actually left the Army or the Navy has even more chance of rising than the man who has remained in it. This last point raises the question about you going to West Point or Annapolis and leaving the Army or Navy after you have served the regulation four years I think that is the number after graduation from the academy.

    Letters To My Children

    Under this plan you would have an excellent education and a grounding in discipline and, in some ways, a testing of your capacity greater than I think you can get in any ordinary college. On the other hand, except for the profession of an engineer, you would have had nothing like special training, and you would be so ordered about, and arranged for, that you would have less independence of character than you could gain from them.

    You would have had fewer temptations; but you would have had less chance to develop the qualities which overcome temptations and show that a man has individual initiative. Supposing you entered at seventeen, with the intention of following this course. I sometimes lose my temper from exhaustion or run out of ideas for entertainment, but I will always love you.

    I will teach you how to love others and be proud of who you are. You all will be rich in hugs, kisses, and encouragement. The ways I come up short as a mother do not define me. You may not always need me. But I hope you want me around because one thing you can count on is that you will never be alone. I hope you look back on your childhood with fond memories that put a smile on your face. I hope that one day you will share with your children the family lessons that you learned under our roof.