A Daily Dose of Love

It started as a box to hold my daughter’s Valentines. It’s now turned into a daily ritual. Each morning, my three year old “checks the mail” to find a note, one for each of my girls. These notes are just two to three sentences, but judging by the look on Ava’s face when I read them, these mean more to her than would a day’s worth of chatter. The content varies but the signature is always the same: I love you always. Love, Mommy.

Love Notes Box pic filteredThe idea came to me after a few relatively challenging months. Between a new baby, three year old antics, and cabin fever from the cold winter, let’s just say everyone was feeling a little on edge. I frequently tell my girls I love them, but I desired another way to convey it, in addition to the words coming out of my mouth. I needed a way to recharge the heart. Nourish the soul. Feed the spirit.

Similar to a lunch box note you might send with your child to school, these love notes offer words of encouragement, positive reinforcement, recognition of accomplishment, or perhaps inside jokes. Checking the mail together allows for us to set aside time, uninterrupted, and the priceless opportunity to see Ava’s face light up as I read the daily notes.

What started as a simple way to visually and audibly convey my love, has evolved to serve several important purposes:

Positive reinforcement. If there’s a particular behavior or skill we’ve been working on and I notice my daughter has been doing it well, especially without any prompting, I will make mention of it in her note. For example, we have been working a lot lately on sharing. The other day, she shared really well with her friend during a playdate, so my note the next day mentioned how well she shared and the importance of being a good friend.

Encouragement. As all parents do, I want my daughters to know that I believe in them. My three year old is slow to warm up and tends to remain quiet in new situations. One of her preschool projects recently was a surprise box that gets passed around to each child throughout the year. They chose an item from home to place in the box and the next morning they stand up in front of the class while the other kids try and guess the object based on presented clues. This was a brand new experience for her and so, the morning of, her note said “You got this!” and “I believe in you.” I foresee those words resurfacing in the future; perhaps before a performance, big game, academic finals…and a driving test? {Eek!}

Love Notes pic holding hands

Recognition. A recent article on PsychCentral, written by Dr. Jonice Webb, references a study that concludes children are more likely to develop high self-esteem and self-worth, and have a strong sense of identity, if they not only know they are loved, but more importantly feel they are loved. Several examples given in the article demonstrate the difference, but the main distinction is that of children feeling they are known; that we recognize the things that make them unique. “I loved watching you run at the playground. You looked so happy.” Or “You seemed sad/angry/upset when {you name it}. I want you to know you can tell me anything.” Recognizing their actions and feelings not only serves to validate them, but also show that you notice them and you care, important aspects of teaching empathy. Plus, it might ignite a discussion and provide insights into their thoughts you never would’ve imagined. I recently discovered that Ava gets really upset when our dog throws up on the carpet because she thinks that maybe food she has accidently dropped at the kitchen table is what caused him to be sick. I know, right? Super sweet, but it also gave me the opportunity to put her mind at ease, and show her that she can share not only her joys with me, but also concerns, questions, and troubles. In this day and age, with cyberbullying and then some, I want her to know I am always a safe haven for her to share any and all feelings, without judgement, fear, or shame.

This daily tradition is one I hope to continue until my girls leave the nest. Here’s to hoping the excitement and meaning it holds today will remain fifteen years from now. At the very least, the message remains the same each and every day: I love you always. Love, Mommy.

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4 Responses to A Daily Dose of Love

  1. Missy O'Neal April 9, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    My Dear Lisa,
    What an extraordinary young woman you are. I know you are your own person but you also have your mothers talent of writing. I will continue to read and enjoy your Blog.

    You have a Beautiful family Lisa..

    Much Love,
    Missy

    • Lisa April 9, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

      Thank you, Missy. So very sweet of you. I hope you are well!

  2. BILLY BOB April 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

    DEAR LISA,

    GOOD STUFF AND DOTTIE AND I JOIN IN THIS FEELING.

    LOVE YOU,
    BILLY BOB AND DOTTIE

    • Lisa
      Lisa April 9, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

      Thank you! Miss you, Billy Bob! Hope to see you & Dottie soon. Lots of love.

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