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!