A Daily Dose of Love

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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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Having moved ten times while growing up, Lisa couldn’t imagine living anywhere for more than two or three years. But after graduating from IU and meeting a guy from “that school up north”, she decided to ditch the nomadic life, plant some roots, and has called Indy home since 2001. She and her husband, Matt, officially became a house divided in 2007, and shortly thereafter added to their family an energetic, food-obsessed Labrador named Reggie. After surviving puppyhood, they felt confident enough to venture into parenthood with the birth of their daughters, Ava, in 2011, and most recently, Emme, in 2014. After 10+ years as a Registered Nurse in fields varying from ICU, to transplant, to insurance case management, she decided to hang up her stethoscope and became a stay at home mom in early 2015. In addition, she is an active volunteer at her church, loves singing, reading, exercising, and spontaneous dance parties with her littles. She believes laughter makes the world go round and never misses her morning coffee, even if it has to be rewarmed ten times throughout the day. True to her upbringing, Lisa has lived in various Indy area locales, from Greenwood to Carmel and in between. She and her family currently reside in Noblesville. Lisa loves being a mom and loves Indianapolis, so this is a perfect venue to share that love with moms in the Indy area and beyond.

4 COMMENTS

  1. 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

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