This Monday I was hit with food poisoning. It was horrible, painful and exhausting. The vomiting was the uncontrollable kind. The kind that makes you whimper the word, “help,” in between bouts.
I locked myself in the bedroom as soon as I started feeling ill, claiming the master bathroom as my own. At some point between 8 p.m. Monday night and 9 a.m. Tuesday, a letter slid under my door:
As sick as I was, it made me smile. Almost as much as the other letter I found in my older daughter’s room — a note from the little one to the big one. It said:
“I feel bad for Mommy. She will be sick for a special day tomorrow. (Valentine’s Day) I really hope she gets better. –K”
My get well wishes weren’t limited to the little one. The big one sent me a note, too. Hers came via text:
When I showed the communications to a friend she wanted to know how I got my kids to send them. Her kids would never take the time to write a get well text much less write a get well note, she said. While my kids’ literary leanings could definitely be related to the fact that I am a writer (apples and trees and all), I think it’s something else. I’ve always written notes, stories and letters for my kids so writing down feelings and emotions is something they see as a normal part of life. Monkey see, monkey do and all.
I started really early, writing stories together, inking and coloring in empty books we bought at Michael’s. When my big girl got a little older I bought her a mommy and me journal so we could write back and forth to each other, sharing words that were too difficult or painful to say out loud. Writing simply became a way of expressing love. My kids write today because it’s what they know.
It works out well for everyone in our lives. For instance, from a very young age both of my kids have written thank you notes. Sometimes it was a struggle to get them to do it, but I truly believe in the power of a personal message so I kept at it. They also give hand-written birthday cards. This year, they even left each other notes on the first day of school.
Want your kids to write? It’s never too late to start a good habit. Try putting little notes into lunchboxes or backpacks. Leave Post-Its on the sink. Write stories with your kids. Buy them their own diaries or notebooks. Let them pick out a cool pen. Eventually, these little things will add up, and you’ll be getting your own post-puke messages — no prompting necessary.