On Tuesday, I received a letter, written in a hand I didn't know from a man I didn't know. It was short, written on a piece of personalized stationery. The hand-addressed envelope was written carefully by someone who wanted me to know something important, the letters marched across the envelope with a measured cadence, thoughtfully crafted and catching my attention immediately. No one writes letters these days and this was real correspondence written by a person who prefers pen and paper to email and instant response.
The postmark was from Peoria, Illinois, but the town in the return address was some place to which I have never been, nor to my knowledge did I have any friends living there. Who had written this letter and why was it so important for him to reach out to me?
The clue was in his name and his name was the reason I stopped short, dropping the other mail to open this letter in front of the house, not even waiting to walk inside, my children skipping around me, calling, "Mom! Mom! Look what I have! Look what I can do! Look, look, look!"
The name? Milo Nussbaum.
I don't know Milo Nussbaum. I thought instantly that he had written because I have a son named Milo. I could tell from his handwriting that he was an older gentleman, was he writing to any Milo he could find? I was so curious that I carefully slid the envelope open to read his story, which was written on a small sheet of paper that said, "Reverend Milo Nussbaum."
Apparently, a friend had brought it to his attention that there was a woman (me), pictured with her children Milo and Violet, who was featured in a story in Parents Magazine for being a "Star Member" on the Parents.com website.
He had decided to write me because his recently deceased wife of nearly 65 years was named Violet and he had never seen a sibling pairing of his name and his wife's name. He also complimented the advice I gave.
I was instantly touched and started crying. What a thoughtful gesture for Reverend Nussbaum to share that with us. I will write him back and tell him about how I believe that my children named themselves while in my womb. After all of the years Scott and I had dreamed of our children, the names Milo and Violet were never on the list of names we generated, but before I knew the genders of either of our babes, their names came to me in vivid thought and something in me insisted that I follow through.
I am not sure how he researched me and found us, though there aren't that many people in my town with my last name. I did my own research and found Reverend Nussbaum to be an extraordinary person, caring for his family and community in many ways. I hope that my Milo can be as caring of his sister in their long lives as siblings.
I hope that Reverend Nussbaum found some joy in this coincidence; I know that I have found it in his random act of kindness.