September 23, 2013 by Marj Hatzell
Years ago, when The Guy I Live With and I first got married, I used to pack his lunch and iron his clothes every day. I KNOW, RIGHT? Because, you know, I was a newlywed and I actually had time to DO that crap and stuff.
Anywho, I used to write a little note and put it in his lunch every day. A little love letter, if you will. Just a short note that said, “Hey, I love you.” Or, “Thanks for everything you do for us.” Or something to that effect. His coworkers used to tease him a bit (JEALOUS!) but he was proud to get them and couldn’t wait to read them every day. It was just a little something I did to connect to him back in the days when we were both working full time at different shifts and I was also in school full time.
Then the kids were born and I started packing less lunches but I always made sure there was a note in there for him. Even if it was scrawled on a piece of scrap paper and he could barely make out my handwriting (which, I have to admit, is pretty awful) I still made a point to get a note in there any time I packed it.
Then the kids started going to school and I was lucky to pack their lunches, let alone HIS lunch. But I also started putting notes in Bug Boy’s lunch bag. Once in a while I’d do Bugaboo’s, too. But Bugaboo rarely ate lunch at school (to this day we’re lucky to get him to eat lunch at school once a week. He just doesn’t eat during the day.) but I’d try anyway.
One day, after about three months of packing Bug Boy’s lunch, I noticed there were dozens of folded up pieces of paper in his lunch bag, stuffed in the pocket. I went to clean them out and realized they were all the notes I had been putting in his lunch. He saved EVERY SINGLE ONE. I tried to toss them but he was adamant that he needed to keep them. They were important to him, he said. I didn’t realize how much those little notes meant until the one or two times I forgot to put them in his lunch. Then I heard about it THE VERY SECOND he burst into the front door from school.
The first week of school this year I pulled out his lunch bag to pack it the first week and inside was every single note I wrote him the past year. He saved every single one, as he had done every year since he started full time school. If they don’t fit in his lunch bag any more, he has a drawer in his desk in his room that he shoves them once they don’t fit. And therefore makes room for more.
It’s simple stuff that I write. “I love you and hope you have a great day!” or “You worked SO HARD on that project. No matter what the grade is we think you did a great job!” But to Bug Boy it’s gold. He comes home and tells me what he liked about what I wrote. He smiles and hugs me. It’s my way of staying connected with my boy while he is at school.
Y’all know the past two years have been rough. My parents’ illnesses and subsequent deaths took any energy I had. I’ll admit I put things like lunches and notes on the back burner. Heck, most of my life was on the back burner. And in addition to the parent stuff there was other stuff here at home we were dealing with. Major house repairs (like rain in the attic) and some personal crises that I’m not at liberty to share. It took a major toll on me and my health. But I feel like I’m making it back again. I feel like I’m more present for my kids and husband again.
I started packing their lunches again. No, not every day. But as often as I possibly can. Chorus mornings when Bug Boy has to be at school at 7am? Yeah, he buys that day. When The Guy I Live With has a meeting two hours away? He eats in the work cafeteria. But I’m trying to pack as often as I can .
Because then I can slip little notes in their lunches.