I'm so glad metal lunchboxes are back in style. Both my kids carry them, and I hope they look back on their "lunchbox years" fondly, like most of us do. I think so many of us love to reminisce about lunchboxes because they are comforting. Lunchboxes are a familiarity from home, carrying evidence that one is loved by way of neatly cut sandwich triangles, a baggie of fruit, and perhaps even a sweet treat.
At lunchtime when I was in elementary school, I remember feeling like there was nothing better than to find something unexpected in my lunchbox. It usually happened after Halloween when my mom would sneak in a piece of candy from my post-October stash. And once in a while, she would write a note of encouragement. I loved even to see her handwriting. Her loopy cursive, which I could barely decipher, was a loving reminder that she was not far away.
I want to create these kinds of memories for my children. And now, as my youngest is off to Kindergarten as of five days ago, I am thinking of ways to do so. Today, when I picked up my son from school, he ran into my arms in tears. When I asked him why he was crying, he said, "Because I missed you so much!" It's only been five days, and I'm already focused on my own agenda while they are gone. The few hours is precious time for me to be productive, and I've already lost sight of how challenging those few hours can be for a child, and the younger they are, the moreso.
So I'm brainstorming ways can I "be there" for my kids without physically being there. Here are my first couple ideas. My son asked me tonight if he could take a picture of me to school. I thought that was a great idea! I am going to send him with a small photo of he and I, for him to tape inside his pencil box that he keeps on his desk.
Secondly, we don't forget the "kissing hand," where I place a kiss in the palm of a little hand and fold up the fingers. The love sticks there (even after hand-washing) and is available all day for pressing to one's cheek for the reminder, "Mommy loves me." This little tradition is from the book of the same name by Audrey Penn, and is excellent to read to a child who is going to preschool or kindergarten for the first time.
We've been reading it for a couple years together because my kids are always needing reminders of how my love stays with them, even when we are apart. I recommend it.
And finally, I'm using these amazing little guys.
Last year, my cousin (who has children a little older than mine) gave me these as a gift, and I was instantly in love with them. This company, Lunchbox Love, is so awesome in their singular aim: to encourage a child by way of a lunchbox. Each set (there are 16 sets in all!) contains four credit card-sized, durable, double-sided notes featuring one bit of love and encouragement and one bit of humor. They are reusable, easy to read, and in lots of fun colors.
I love them so much that I'm giving away TWO SETS to one of you! Please sign up to be a follower on the right - that will make you eligible. If you want an extra entry, please leave a comment below...maybe with your favorite lunchbox as a kid.
If you don't have kids, then it would make a great gift for a mom with young kids. Memories of small gestures of love found in a lunchbox may last for decades later.
* The winner will receive two different sets of notes. I'll choose a winner on Sunday night and post about it Monday!
Whatever happened to my lunchbox?
When came the day that it got thrown away
And don't you think I should've had some say
In that decision? -John Mayer