This right here is love.

What began as a simple handwritten note to a local nursing home with the phrase “you are loved” has turned into months of writing letters each week. 

In a time where Instagram and TikToks have taken over the lives of many teenagers, handwritten letters sent via snail mail are now popular with my 16-year-old daughter and stamps are back in demand. 

Social media has not been fully replaced by letters, but what a blessing it is for her to take a step back in time and just slow down. 

When the pandemic caused a shut down in March, my daughter started corresponding with a 95-year-old man.

With each letter, her heart softened while reading his words in script, written on yellow lined paper, and a friendship began to grow. 

Strangers . . . only connected through words and a common bond of bestowing compassion to one another.

Strangers . . . who pour out their hearts each week, sharing life’s worries, secrets, and dreams. 

Strangers . . . who eagerly wait for the mail to arrive each week.

Strangers . . . who understand each other without having met.

So after 10 months, my daughter decided she wanted to meet her letter-writing friend and a window visit was planned.

The nurses decided to surprise her 95-year-old friend, and what a delight for both of them. 

The smiles and tears, laughter, and conversation all took place through the window while writing on whiteboards and talking loudly. And I can assure you, the window separating these two didn’t interfere with the heartfelt conversations shared on that chilly winter day.

My tears were gathering as I watched from afar, blubbering in the cold.

Proud can’t begin to describe what my eyes witnessed and how this mama heart felt. 

Proud of my sweet girl for having a pure heart that captures everyone she meets. 

A heart filled with deep love and a soul that has the ability to connect on a deep level.

Her young soul has been a bit broken and shattered while being a teenager living through a pandemic and life, at times, is difficult, frustrating, and isolating.

Maybe this is where these two souls, gazing through the window at one another, connect.

Maybe it is an understanding that life is about choices and moving forward.

They both embrace the isolation but sympathize with others. 

They both embrace the frustration but yearn to bring a smile to someone else.

They both embrace what has changed but attempt to create something new.

Maybe the new for each of them is their recently formed friendship, based on one simple card that read “You are loved.” 

And maybe, just maybe, this is the glue that unites these two friends. 

The need to continue moving along on this bumpy, shattered, twisty road ahead of us while loving with a full heart. 

Maybe this is a lesson for all of us . . . to find a way to spread the love our hearts hold, a love that is intended to be shared with others, even strangers. 

And as I watched them create a hand signal for “I love you” prior to her departure, my heart felt nothing but love at that very moment. 

The kind of love we organically have stored, deep within our souls, is meant to be shared. 

Because you see friends, this window visit has changed their lives.

These two friends found the silver lining within a world of darkness. 

One card.

Many letters.

One window visit.

Two hearts filled with love. 

“You are loved.”

Ali Flynn

Hang in there mama by Ali Flynn Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents and Her View From Home. You can also find her at https://www.facebook.com/hangintheremama where she keeps motherhood real.