Sending Emails to my 3-year-old

How I'm using email and timecapsules as a fun legacy for my son to find

In 2020 just in between two lockdowns, my wife gave birth to our son Linus. I'm not going to describe in detail how my life was changed that day (because other bloggers do this better) but for me his birth sparked a whole lot of new feelings and plans for our future.

Me with my son about 30 minutes after his birth

His own Email Address

You might think it's too early for a 1 month old baby to have an email address but I had a plan when I created his email address in our family's Google Workspace domain.

My plan was to give him access to the account when he's in secondary school but theres much more to it.

Sending him the family history while it's still in the making

Most of the things I know about my grandparents I have not heard from them directly. When my grandfather died in 1999 I was just 12 years old and it was the first time I lost someone from my closer family.

He lived an interesting life, when he was 19 he was drafted by the Nazis and became a mechanic for the Luftwaffe. After the war when he came back from a PoW camp in Siberia he was a bus driver, mechanic, father and later grandfather. He never talked about anything he experienced in the war and according to my family he came back deeply traumatized. Many parts of his life were only reveiled to me after his death - not because of a particular reason just because I was too young to ask any interesting questions at the time.

My grandfather "Josef Brankl" 1940-1945

What does this have to do with email?

When I realized that I have a son now and that these years will be his vague memories in the future I thought I'd start emailing him things from our daily lives and I encourage all of his family members to do the same to tell him about themselves and write about memories they share.

I usually send him two to three emails per year with photos of our family and friends and his sourroundings like what car we drive, what our house and our garden looks like.

Emails to Linus

The grandparent equasion

Even though I plan to be by his side for the next 50 years or so, you never know when he's going to lose a loved one in his future and I want him to have first-hand messages from everyone in our family right there in his inbox.

Once every year I remind his grandparents, aunts and uncles to send him an email and just tell them what they are up to these days, where they live and who they met. I encurage them to include photos of them and their sourroundings so he can watch them age over the years and emails.

Linus with his grandparents

I imagine him in his teen years scrolling through and reading messages from loved ones who might no longer be with us and read about their lives and their own history.

Linus will be 4 years old in a few months and I have sent him 10 emails so far. I write him on his birthdays and after events like first vacation, first Christmas or first day in Kindergarten.

But apart from the emails I have another plan.

Leaving time capsules

When I met my wife she showed me the concept of Geocaches. describes it as follows:

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor adventure that is happening all the time, all around the world. To play, participants use the Geocaching app and/or a GPS device to navigate to cleverly hidden containers called geocaches.

This concept was very interesting to me and one day I connected the idea of geocaching with the virtual legacy I'm planning for him.

Geocaching but 10+ years apart

I have prepared a few capsules with random items from our lives or toys he doesn't play with anymore. My plan is to bury them in random places, make photos and note the GPS coordinates of the locations to send it to him. Some of them however I will not tell him about but save in my personal documents for him to possibly find many years down the line.

Example of a time capsule. This one is from the UK (c) UK Parliament Jessica Taylor

The hard part here is finding spots that are easily accessible now and will be in many years too. But I already have a few ideas.

Maybe even an ETH paper wallet with 50€ on it? Who knows

Tags: parenting son legacy

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