Friday, April 13, 2007

a love note

I've been writing in journals for as long as I can remember. And I'm going to warn you up front.... I tend to ramble....! My daughter (who has a blog--simply blissful) said "it's tough to put yourself out there." I have just the opposite problem.... shutting up. If you know me, you know this is not characteristic of me. I'm a very quiet and unassuming person. I'm an observer of life, not so much a participater. I'm not so much a talker. But my journals give me a place to talk where I won't be interrupted, where I don't care if no one is listening or hearing or caring what I have to say. My journals are a place where I can put all my most innermost feelings about anything, everything, or nothing at all. I laid awake in bed last night wondering how on earth I would have time to write everything that I want to write about!! After all, there's only 365 days in a year and at least 1,000 pieces of my puzzle!

And after I've been writing today's entry for most of the morning trying to figure out what I wanted to say and what I didn't want to say just yet, I see where my daughter, Tracy, published her entry for today. She's a truly gifted child and has creative talents that make a momma proud. But today's entry made me cry.... She always knows just the right thing to say to make me feel like I'm the best mother in the world! Course, I try to be.... but if you read her earlier entry, you would know I'm not ("stick to decorating the carrots, they're easier...."!). Course she took it way out of context ;) She knows I would never say anything on purpose to hurt her. But one thing she wrote is true, I've been leaving my kids notes since they were in grade school.

Being a working mom, I wasn't always home when they headed off to school and I could remember how brutal school could be on fragile souls. I also knew they wouldn't always listen to what I had to say, so I took to putting things on paper. A typical note might have read, "smile at someone today!" or "say something nice to a new person" or "be happy" or simply, "I love you." As they got older, it was real conversations between us about what was happening that day. When the kids no longer carried a lunch to school, I wrote my love notes on a tablet that had its permanent place on the kitchen counter. Most days had something special to say about who they were as individuals or inspirations on how they could be kind, compassionate, and respectful children. Course, to be honest.... I didn't know if they actually ever read them.... but seeing how well they've turned out, I suspect they did. Still, today whenever the kids come home to visit, the first thing they do is head to the tablet to see what's been written over the past weeks. When we entered the world of email, inspirational quotes became my popular theme in their daily emails: "Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking."

But my love notes to my kids have been my greatest gift to them, I hope, and reading back our conversations over the years, the greatest gift to me. Being a parent isn't the easiest thing in the world. Having to teach your children from right and wrong isn't always the easiest thing and isn't always welcomed with open arms.... They don't always want to listen or to acknowledge that you're right or that you just might know what you're talking about. But my love notes were a way for us to "communicate" without actually having to talk person to person and risk an argument or confrontation. If my kids said something mean, they could expect to have a love note that addressed "being mean to others." When they wrote back an apology, I knew it was a lesson learned. When they left the house, they wrote a quick note saying where they were going. If I had asked, they probably would have said, "I don't know." This manner of communication lessened the power struggle of "you don't own me." Writing love notes was my way to guide them. Too often when we communicate with our children it's all about power, control, or being right and often ended in a confrontration. When you're writing a short note, you don't have that same situation in play, the power or control issue. So to all you mothers--leave your kids a love note today and tomorrow and the day after that! You'll be glad you did.

Have a sunshiny day!


tracy said...

my turn to cry. I love you. have a good friday, even though you're retired & weekends don't matter anymore ;)

Jerusalem said...

Oh that is so sweet. I had no idea about the note system. Must have been going on under my nose all that time. That is great advice- especially for us working moms who worry about the things not said and time not spent together!! Thanks for sharing and welcome to BlogLand!!