Several years ago I discovered a blog written by Garth Callaghan and began following his journey. He is also known as “Napkin Notes Dad” and has a special story. He had already been in the habit of sending daily notes in his daughter’s lunch. But after being diagnosed with cancer, he embarked on a simple but meaningful project. Mr. Callaghan provided his then 12-year-old daughter enough handwritten Napkin Notes to carry her every day through high school. No matter what the future held, he wanted to be sure his daughter still had her daily note from him.
I found their story incredibly meaningful, and I was immediately drawn to the idea of adding uplifting messages to my son’s lunchbox. It’s straightforward but serves a deeper purpose. This practice has grown to have even more value for me many years and many children later. I can accomplish a few things that are important to me as a mom with this simple act of encouragement.
I have a large, busy household that naturally requires structure and consistency. Most of my kids are reassured by routine. It doesn’t take much time for me to regularly tuck notes into lunches, and my children can count on a midday boost. This is a consistent practice I can follow to help bolster their confidence.
This is a big one for me. I parent children from hard places, and connection is a struggle. I deal with a variety of attachment issues as a mom. These handwritten notes are especially important for fostering connection within even the most troublesome relationships. No matter what pandemonium we survived that morning at home, no matter the highs-and-lows they faced during school that day, a handwritten lunchbox note can stand in the gap a bit, especially during really rough parenting seasons.
I feel as if I have limited occasions to be a fun mom. So I appreciate the opportunity to get a little silly with puns or riddles tucked into a lunchbox. The jury is still out on whether or not my kids appreciate my humor! But lunchbox notes give my children a chance to see a playful side of me as a mom.
Napkin Notes Dad wrote all of his messages on actual napkins, and I am still getting by with handwritten notes on small slips of paper. But lunchbox notes are a great outlet to indulge your creative talents. There is no shortage of options when it comes to lunchbox notes. Design your own, or do a quick search online to find loads of printable notes to download. Leave notes in backpacks, in coat pockets, in books, or on pillows.
Lunchbox notes remind me to remain intentional amidst the frenzy of my parenting. I try to remember that my child is never going to be disappointed to read a fun note from me. Occasionally I have been fortunate enough to receive notes from my children in return!
I am always searching for inspiration, so share your own lunchbox note ideas in the comments!