I'm a sap, I admit it. I love my children with every cell in my body and I would move heaven and earth to help them.
While making lunches for my 7- and 8-year-old every day, I almost always include a small note. It isn't anything fancy, just a little piece of paper that tells each of my children how much they mean to me or something special for the day. I often will say something like "I'm proud of how well you slept through the night," when they have been having a lot of nightmares, or "You are did so amazing at Taekwondo!"
It's just a little bit to lift their spirits (or so I hope).
Well, I had been doing this for a while and one day a few months ago I did lunches as usual, packed my own lunch and then got ready for work upstairs. Performing the usual routine, I dropped off the kids at school and then took the train to work in Boston. Fast forward a few hours and I am sitting at my desk pulling out my lunch box, and what did I find? A note from each of my children. One said "Dear Dada, Have a wonderful day" and the other said "Daddy, I love you."
My 7- and 8-year-old had apparently slipped them into my lunch box while I was getting ready upstairs, unexpected by me and deliberate on their part.
I know, I know... my heart stuck in my throat too. That was when I knew that I was always doing a good thing writing those little daily notes.
Now, jump forward to today. I have continued to write the notes and I ask my oldest, "Do you still read those notes I leave you?" He looked at me and held up his little index finger as if to say "hold on a second" and disappeared around the corner.
A little frustrated with being dismissed, I said, "I asked you a question," to which he responded, "Hold on Daddy."
He came back around the corner and held up his blue fabric lunch box. The lunch box itself has two compartments; the zip up area that contains his lunch and a front pocket which we never open. He opened the Velcro on the pocket with a ripping sound and pulled out a stack of notes and looked up at me holding them. "I collect them all. When I get sad during the day, I go back to my lunch box and pull them out to make me happy."
I was touched that my notes meant that much to him, that I could still manage to touch my son a little in the middle of the day when I'm miles away.
So I say this to all you daddies and mommies: Write your kids some notes and stick them in their lunch. You never know what impact you have in their lives with such a small thing that takes no time at all. What do you do daily to make a difference in your children's lives?
Follow Jason P. Stadtlander on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jpstadtlander