Another school year has come and gone. It’s already been over a week ago that I danced my way through the final day to the Peppermint Twist with all the children during their year-end Candyland themed party, and I’d like to say that I’ve gotten through the forest of papers and special projects that made their way home in the girls’ final days, but I can’t. It’s an emotional thing for me to look at their artwork and read their final writings and accept that another segment of their time under our roof has drawn to an end even though that Godly senior girl ministered of beautiful moments to come.
I see my kindergartener’s wish never to leave K01 with words of love for her teacher and I cry. I read my second grader’s retelling of her first time on the Paul Bunyan log ride complete with their faces of fear photo and I laugh. My heart is full from this paper treasure box. I can only unpack so much of it at a time.
Amongst my most fun discoveries, though, was when I removed their (empty) lunch boxes. Grace’s had a bottom zipper compartment that I was clueless as to its functionality. Thus, I never opened it during the year. Whenever she chose cold lunch, I packed in the main compartment, throwing in her lunch box love note before placing it in her bag.
These love notes became a tradition when Grace, our oldest, started kindergarten. Although we were apart in distance my husband and I wanted her to know that our hearts were with her and this was how we chose to display that. Naturally, when Hannah started kindergarten, we did the same for her.
Often times the notes were simple, containing messages important for them to hear-
I am so blessed to be your mommy.
I’m praying over your test.
Volunteering in your class today was so much fun.
I’m proud of you.
God made you so incredibly special.
They looked forward to the lunch box love notes and we secretly loved when they chose cold lunch because it meant opportunity to make this unique point of connection.
And, for some reason, when I was wiping out the Barbie lunch carrier, I opened the bottom compartment because even though it hadn’t been used I thought it could maybe use a good washing out.
Much to my surprise, all the notes we’d written over the course of the year were stuffed inside.
“Why did you keep these?” I asked.
“Because I love them so much,” she smiled.
Hannah, not wanting to be outdone even though her lunch box had no place for permanent storage, piped in, “They make my day better. Our life better.”
And then they ran off to play while I unpacked more memories hidden within the 2013-2014 school bags.
A few words can write big meaning on the heart of a growing child.
I confess that there were moments when I’d remember one or both wanted cold lunch late at night and the lunch box love note felt like one more hurdle between me and my snuggly bed. But, this simple act of love ties us together when time cannot, and I will continue the tradition until they’ve graduated and I’m no longer able to pack a lunch for them to take.
Your schooling situation might look different than ours, but, mamas, I encourage you to find ways to build love notes into life with your girls. Knowing that they can expect to find reminder of your love for them will bring you closer and the consistency will buoy their spirit.
You’re her biggest cheerleader. Tell her so!