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Every day for years, my wife Debbie put a note in our sons’ lunch. You can guess what they said – mostly those three little words, although they often commented on the tests they had to take that day, or the reports they were working on or just handed in. I must confess two things about this: First, it seemed like a little thing, and little things seem not all that important. Second, well, honestly I’m not very organized and on the days I got them ready for school, it was all I could do to get their socks on the right feet and out the door. Oh, right, and breakfast—I usually gave them breakfast. But no notes. Not that big a deal.
But in the end, it is the small things that make a difference. I like to believe that my children love me as much as they do their mom, albeit in a different fashion. They come to me with broken things, or when they want to squirt someone with a squirt gun.
When my boys were in high school and middle school, respectively, my wife was away for five days visiting relatives, I was in charge, completely, at home. And honestly, I did okay. I cook pretty well. Cleaning’s not my forte, but I’m better than my two sons. I made their lunches, too. Everything they liked to eat. They complimented me. We had a good time together, and those two guys were happy to be with me.
At the dinner after my wife’s return, we got the story from her about her trip, and she got the stories about our week.
“Did you miss me?” she asked. She knew the answer, but it never hurts hearing it again.
They both nodded. “Of course!” They said. Then there was a pause.
“You know what I really missed?” the eighth grader said.
“What?” she asked.
“Your notes in the lunch bag,” he said.
“Really?” she said.
“Yeah, my friends did, too.”
The whole school knew about the notes.
I put nine notes in his lunch bag the next day to make up for the lost time. But it’s not the same. It’s the everyday things that matter.
Little things are big. Especially when they come with a peanut butter sandwich.