The girls in this family like to write. We like to write stories, letters, wordy emails, notes in lunch boxes, notes in travel bags, messages on white boards, sticky notes on counter tops, not to mention all the notebooks and lists. I think we really just like cute paper, pretty pens, and the notion of hearing ourselves think out loud – or for that matter, write out loud. You get the idea.
Because today is Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of some of my favorite love notes, and they are not what you think. They are not mushy, eloquently written cards enveloped in shiny foil or velum overlays. Nope. My collection of treasures are scribbled on crumpled paper, index cards, and sticky notes like this one that was taped on the peanut butter jar. Maggie thoughtfully put it there so that I would find it while making lunches early in the morning. I saved it and tape it to each new jar of peanut butter. It sits proudly crowned in the pantry and I smile every time I lay my hands it.
One day while doing the normal around the house chores I came across this note from Emily. I am used to finding scraps of paper around the house with little notes and scribbled messages. But for some reason, this one came on a day when I was busy and hurried and not expecting it. It was tucked carefully inside a small envelope and she left it in an unsuspecting place that only I would see – which somehow made it more special. So sweet. It made me feel so special and loved. It put a little spring in my step and an extra wide smile on my face. Oh me, oh my. So lucky, so loved. Me, me, me…
I bounced around the house continuing my cleaning, still feeling special on my own little cloud of happiness. Me, me, me. La, la, la. And then I found another note. The same small white envelope and the same girly scripted handwriting. This one was on Jason’s bedside table, nestled between the large stack of books, but sticking out just enough for it to catch his eye at the end of the day. And I stopped in my tracks. She made one for both of us, and carefully placed them where we would be surprised by our finds.
As I carried on throughout the day, I came to find notes all around the house, one for each member of the family. Each one was cleverly, purposely placed so that it would take us by surprise. Every note to each person said something different, but the message was simple and the same. She just wanted us to know she loved us all, each one of us, and that we were all special to her in our own unique way.
I very quickly realized that the little love note I found was not just for me – clearly Emily had left them for everyone. Gone was the little voice inside my head singing notes of how special I was, the selfish tune of inflated self importance. It was replaced instead by a choir of gratitude, reminding me how lucky I am – how lucky we all are. While my note made me feel special, it was no less valued because it was one of many. The truly beautiful part about all these notes is that they did not discriminate. On this ordinary day in the middle of October, everyone in the family was gifted to a reminder of how special we are to her.
And it was a little whispered reminder to me how of how much better it is to share love with ALL those around you rather than just keep it for a select few. Isn’t everyone worthy of signs of love and grace or unexpected kind gestures – family members, classmates, neighbors, strangers in the grocery store, even those who test our patience? Isn’t that one of the miracles of love – the more give the more you receive? And don’t some of the smallest gestures speak louder than the longest words? Sometimes I think we forget this.
Today, thanks to the love notes, I am reminded.