It started out as a bribe. It was the only way I could think of to get my daughter into her classroom on a morning she just wasn’t feeling it.
Kids swarmed around us as I hastily dug through my backpack. Earphones, phone chargers, makeup. I couldn’t give her any of those things. Come on, C. You’re late for your 9.00. I spied a folded piece of paper I had written down the attendants of a conference call on to e-mail the group later. It was on New York hotel stationery, I remembered writing this during my weekly 7am call. I’m glad those days are over.
This is Mommy’s special list. Can you keep it with you all day? Every time you look at it you can think of me and remember that I love you.
It broke my heart to leave her at school, but she proudly clutched the list in her hand and through a tear stained face showed her friends before putting it into her back pocket and running to play.
At lunchtime, her friend Kevin got food on her list. She had put it on the table to look at while she ate lunch, and it got messy. Frantically, she took it to the sink to wash it and it disintegrated. Her teacher told me she was inconsolable for at least 30 minutes afterward.
That night, she told me through tears that she had lost it and she was so, so sorry. I promised I’d make her a new one for the next day, and that’s been our little tradition since. It’s a simple note, it says “I love you” and most days it’s written in crayon or lipstick or marker as we rush out the door.
Years ago, I left two love notes for the only loves I’d ever known. If they ever get to read it – and I doubt they’ll be allowed – it will be many years before they know how much I love and miss them.
When I started my love notes with my daughter, it was out of desperation that her class drop off would be smoother. Now, seeing the comfort that it brings her, I ache that I don’t rush – in lipstick with kids buzzing around me to get out the door to school – three love notes.
For the rest of my life.
I would give anything to write my kids love notes.