Growing up, I watched other children pull out their packed lunches that included napkins with special messages from mom on them about having a good day at school. I always wished my mom would have put a note in my lunch box even if it was “you forgot to do the dishes this morning.” I had a nice childhood and my needs were always met, so I am not exactly complaining.
However, I promised myself when I had children of my own, they would get occasional notes in their lunches. Last week, I put a power bar in my oldest son’s lunch for his snack that day (it is his all-time favorite.) He thought we were out of power bars, so I taped a message written on a post-it note to the “surprise” bar. I thought he might like to know how much I loved him that day.
When I picked him up from school, he came walking out to the parking lot with a note taped to his chest. I asked him when he taped my note to the front of his shirt. He smiled and said he did it after lunch. “Did you wear that for the rest of the day?” “Yes”, he said with a huge smile and a nod. “My teacher asked me about it and I told her it was a note from my mom.”
My husband and I recently returned from a rare one-week solo vacation, without our four children. (Many thanks to both of my parents for taking on the huge task of babysitting for a week!) My oldest son missed us both more than he or even I expected. I have written about him before because he is constantly teaching me about life and to look at things from a different perspective.
He is extremely insightful and reflective, yet independent at the same time. Sometimes, he can be a man of few words, but his actions spoke loud and clear. He knows how much I love him and does not mind a small reminder taped to his food in the middle of the school day. He literally wore his heart AND mine on the front of his t-shirt.
Experts say teaching children to express their feelings comfortably helps to build self-esteem. Sometimes as parents, we feel it is our job to build confidence in our children, by constantly reassuring them, complimenting them, or guarding against anything that can interfere with feelings of self-worth.
In my opinion, we need to nurture our little saplings and provide a supportive environment to help them to grow strong on their own and avoid pruning their branches too early.
For whatever reason, right now, my son wants more of my time and reassurance, which I am happy to provide. I appreciate that he is not afraid to ask for what he needs. I am proud of the fact he would wear a note from me on his shirt all day at school and not think anything about it, other than how much I love him.
I admire his confidence in himself and his unwavering loyalty to his siblings, parents, and grandparents. I am lucky to be his mother and so grateful he is my son. I plan to always stay well stocked up on power bars. They are symbolic to me in a whole new way!