Have you ever received a love letter from someone? And I don’t just mean one from a romantic partner (although those are good too!). A letter of appreciation from someone, a little “I Love You” note from your child – anything that makes you smile and feel loved counts! How did it make you feel? Did you save it?
When my daughter first went “off to school” she didn’t actually go far. We lived in a small town and there was only one Junior Kindergarten class so I was her teacher. By the next year, though she had a different one and she felt a bit of separation anxiety over it (as did I!). She loved school but we both missed each other and felt the need for a bit of extra connection. So, I started putting a little note in her lunches. These notes might be a bit of encouragement for the day ahead (especially as she grew older and had a test that day), might be an acknowledgement of something she did well, might remind her of future plans such as who was picking her up from school that day or a special event going on that evening,sometimes included a little word puzzle or often a silly joke, but always always always told her how much I love her. (An added benefit of this was that by the end of Junior Kindergarten she was reading Junior Novels – the notes had helped encourage and motivate her reading skills and her vocabulary greatly increased.) I remember my niece coming to Canada for a visit at our house one summer and my sister included little love notes hidden in pockets of some of the pieces of clothing she brought along with her. The smile on my niece’s face every time she found one of the notes was priceless!
Flickr, P Pogo
At one point, when there was an issue that was difficult for her to talk to me about, we came up with Ernie her Guardian Elf (cross between one of Santa’s elves and a guardian angel). She and Ernie would exchange letters with each other about some of these trickier topics. As she grew into an adolescent, I began to leave notes on her pillow (although even right through her teenage years, if she carried a lunch with her, there was a note in it!). Recently, I saw the cutest pillow on a blog – they had included a little pocket designed to hold notes! Even now, as a university student, I send her greetings cards frequently just to let her know I’m thinking of her or to congratulate or encourage her. Even though we’re Facebook friends and of course have email available to us, there’s nothing quite like receiving a special card (envelope covered in stickers just like when she was little!!!) that she could hold in her hands. And, as a special sweet bit of sentiment, she gets cards from the dog and cats quite regularly as well!
When she was in Kindergarten, her teacher gave her a scrapbook to save all her lunchbox notes in and now that she is in university, when she comes home in the summer, we pull out the box of cards from the prior year and paste them into more scrapbooks. Not only do these love notes bring joy when first received, but it’s so much fun to sit down and go through all the old ones, reminiscing about events referred to in them and giggling over the silliness in some of them. I, too, have a collection, albeit much smaller, of little love notes presented to me by my daughter. Most of them were accompanied by one of her drawings, but all were filled with lovely heartfelt words. I’ll never forget one she left on my pillow the day she was at home sick and I had to go off to work. I had given up my lunch period to go home and check on her, heat up some chicken soup for her, and pull out another treat from the “get well box” (more on this in tomorrow’s post). She wrote me the most adorable note about how she knew I must have gone without my own lunch in order to come home and take care of her, how much she loved me, and how she always would “even when we have troubles”. Still makes me smile and tear up just thinking about it.
Who could you write a love letter to? It can be as simple as “I love you more!” on a little piece of paper in your child’s lunch, “Can’t wait for you to get home from work!” tucked under the wipers on the windshield of your sweetie’s vehicle, or “Welcome home!” on an oversized love note posted on the front door as a general welcome to your whole family. Send a letter to a family member who lives far away, drop a note to your child’s teacher letting them know how much you appreciate all they do, write a letter to reconnect with an old friend. It’s amazing how much just a few words can brighten someone’s day and stick with them forever.
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