My son has been a kindergartener now for almost two months and each day, I write him a simple, short note and put it in his lunch box. I try to make the notes a little original with drawings or questions. Other times, I try to root the note in what’s going on that week, but mostly, because I’m in a hurry, I just write a simple, “I Love You. Love, Mama.” And, for almost two months, he didn’t say anything about my notes other than to thank me for writing them. But, I kept writing them because I wanted him to have a small piece of home in his lunch box. The process was as much for me as it was for him.
Today, I noticed the small pocket on the front of his gray and orange lunch box was unzipped. When I went to zip it back up, I saw a small piece of white sticking out. Upon further investigation, I found all of my notes. ALL of them. He had saved each note, tucking it away in his lunch box. When I asked him about it, he told me he had been saving them and on some days, he reads them again at lunch. He then explained that some of the moms volunteer at lunch time, but since I’m at school teaching, I can’t. And sometimes, it makes him sad I’m not there. He said, “But the notes always remind me how you love me and how you’re in my heart.”
I truly hadn’t realized how much the notes meant to him and that he counted on them each day. Sometimes, we just don’t know if what we do really makes a difference to someone or not. All too often, we wait for them to validate our actions or to express gratitude. I believe in gratitude. I teach gratitude to my children; however, I also want them to know that while being kind to someone is a gift to them, it’s also a gift to us. I write the notes for my son, but they are also for me. I feel better knowing he has a small piece of home with him at school, always and no matter what. And it worked: I feel at peace knowing he has a small piece of me—my writing—tucked away in his lunch box. And he feels better, as it reminds him that he carries me in his heart, always.
My simple notes to him reminded him that I’m in his heart and really, what greater gift is there for a son to tell his mother? Like e.e.cumming says in one of my favorite poems, I carry him in my heart, too. All day long, he’s tucked right inside my heart. He’s never far from my mind and in the spaces in between our morning departure–the note writing, the walking him to the door of his school, the tying of his shoes, and the last kiss before he walks in the door to start his day—to the end of the day hug, snack, and round table of “what was your favorite part of the day?” this small boy is never far from me. He’s right in my heart and I’m in his.