I have two old plastic snap cases under my bed. One of them holds cast-off and never-used school supplies: a plastic protractor, spiral notebooks, page protectors, folders, erasers, and index cards. For years it was the place the kids ransacked when they all of a sudden needed something for homework or for school the next day. We all still rummage through it from time to time, so I suppose it will stay there awhile longer. The other dusty snap case holds treasures. In it are notes from the kids from over the years ("Mommy, I think I left my jeans at track!" "Dear tooth fairy, we lost my tooth and can’t find it . . . " "Hey there, Ma . . . just hoping you have a good week while we’re in FLA" "Mom, get me up at 5:45 or whenever you get up . . . I got work to do!"). It also holds pictures they drew, stories they wrote, tapes they made, and notebooks they kept. There's a paper flower on a paper stem, one of the first things my oldest son ever made me and a little spray of fake flowers, the first present he ever bought me. The box also houses three composition notebooks, one for each of my kids. I started writing letters to them in 1991. At first I wrote several times a year; later on I wrote less frequently, often around their birthdays. The last entries are from 2009. In each entry, I tried to capture who they were at that moment—I recorded things they said, things they did, favorite foods and games and TV shows. My original plan was to give the notebooks to them when they left for college, but the timing didn't seem quite right. Then I thought I might give them to them when they graduated from college, but I didn’t do that either. I can’t quite decide just when they will be most ready to read them. When they turn 30? When they have kids of their own? I guess when the time is right, I'll know it. For now, they’ll stay in the box I keep under my bed.