As we were getting ready for Irene to wreak havoc on us, I grabbed the mail.
Cooper was in the car with me and paid no attention as I pulled a large manilla envelope out of the mailbox.
A large manilla envelope addressed to my kid in loopy handwriting.
A large manilla envelope with THE WHITE HOUSE as the return address.
He asked his usual, "is there anything for me today?"
And this time my answer was exactly what he wanted to hear- "there sure is".
I wish I had my camera focused on his little face and had captured the wide-eyed look and smile that grew into a huge grin. I didn't- but it was perfect.
When he opened the envelope, he pulled out a letter, a signed picture of the prez, a picture of his family, a Q&A with the prez, and a special information card for Bo- the presidential dog. Cooper was so excited, he could barely focus- and after he tried to read the letter a few times on his own, he finally gave it to me and said, "He didn't say anything about the dogs, or the SPCA- but he says that if I work hard I can do lots of stuff".
So I read the letter- and while I tried to be positive (because it really was an inspiring message), there was a part of me that was so disappointed in the response. Yes, it's amazing that we even got a response, and yes, I realize that Cooper was one of thousands of kids who write....and really, we got so much more than I even anticipated- but there was a single thing about the letter that completely deflated me.
It said, Dear Student:
Really? Someone addressed the envelope by hand, and that's the best salutation they could come up with? Even a plain, Greetings from the White House! would have been better. Or has anyone heard of mail merge? Dear Cooper, would have been perfect- and not that much trouble.
But my sweet 9 year old didn't even blink at Dear Student.
Because the great thing about being 9, is that you believe that of course, the President would write back to you. And although he didn't say something specific about helping to save the dogs from no kill shelters, he did include a picture of his dog- so that means that it's all going to be ok.
(to read Coop's letter and the story behind it, click here)