Did your mom ever leave you “napkin notes” in your lunch as a kid? It’s a small gesture, but fond memory I have. And now that I’m a wife and mom, it’s a little tradition I enjoy sharing with my loved ones.
I started doing it for my husband back when we were dating (yes, I started packing his lunches then and he all but forgot how over 10 years ago), and just recently started adding little love notes to my preschooler’s packed lunch now that she stays for long days at school. Even though she can’t read yet, she recognizes words like “mommy,” her name Hazel of course, and hearts that mean “love.”
And that’s exactly what the napkins – and for that matter – the lunches are. Symbols of my love for them. It’s such a simple thing, but I pack their lunches with love, it makes me feel good to know they’ll open it and find the healthy things I packed to nourish their bodies.
I think that’s why I love cooking for my family so much too. That and my obvious love of food.
It fulfills me to to take care of them. It’s like this rooted deep instinct. Kind of like the one where I want to spend weeks putting up the fall harvest but realize that with a full time job and no huge family to sit around and help, it’s a totally different time than when our ancestors used to perform such tasks. And that shit is no small task.
But packing a lunch, and slipping in a little napkin love note, that’s doable. And in fact, puts a smile on my face when I do it. And then a smile on theirs when they find it.
So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed packing lunches, try putting that small act of kindness – and love – into the task. When you’re dreading the dinner dilemma, try thinking of the nourishment and joy it will bring your family gathered around the table together.
And if your love language, like mine, is appreciation and gratitude, maybe, just maybe, you can hope someone will slip a love note back atcha.