For years I have put notes in my sons' lunches. For the most part they don't mention them. Quite frankly, I was never really sure they were even being read but I kept putting them in because that's what moms do, right? We do little things that go unnoticed until one day we don't do them and realize they have been noticed. So I continued to put notes of love, warmth, encouragement and humour into their little lunchbags. Notes that told them how proud they make me. Notes with knock-knock jokes. Notes that simply said "I love you".
Then one very special day, I received a note back.
Kinda gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn't it?
I fully and completely encourage my kids to read. Spending money on books is the one thing to which I never say no. Words are an integral part of my life, to the point that I have a notebook where I jot down interesting words I've read or heard because, you know, I'm a geek. My memories of getting lost in a book, so entranced by the story I forgot about real life going on around me, are numerous.
It's the reason I'm completely lax with my kids and any rules when it comes to reading. My kids know this and play me like a well-tuned violin.
Son No. 1 likes to read in bed before he goes to sleep, the apple not falling far from the tree. During the school year I cap his reading time at 10:00 pm at which point I go into his room to turn off his light and pry the book from his hands as he begs to "Just let me finish this chapter mom. PLEASE". Inevitably, I do.
Since he’s reading books three to four years above his age level, our rule is whenever he doesn’t know the meaning of a word, he can come out and ask me no matter what the time.
One night, an hour after he had gone into his room, he came sauntering out.
Mummy? I don’t know what this word means and pointed to a paragraph. Immediately, I saw two words he may have a problem with.
Then I started to read.
It became abundantly clear, my two choices were not the ones that had him baffled.
I spent this morning clearing out any test tubes we had in the house.
Also, I will never rent Free Willy because that would be a huge disappointment, wouldn't it.
I don't remember when I first started chatting with Kathleen Tennant on Twitter but I do remember how blown away I was when I saw her art. I am not an artsy person. I've been to a few art galleries and while I'd like to be all fancy schmancy and talk about how the art moved me, it was not meant to be. I just saw pictures. Even the Mona Lisa is just a chick with a smirk to me. I know...there should be banjos playing as you read that last sentence.
It's the notebook I use for writing ideas and inspiration. I keep it beside my desk and look at it every day—it never fails to remind me to stay true to myself and be authentic. Almost all of her paintings have a message: Be Strong, Love Runs Through, With Love Comes Peace. It's the first time I've ever felt moved by art.
A few weeks ago, Kathleen and I were chatting and she said she had been busy working on a new project. When I asked what, she sent me the link to a new site where she sells her art on laptop and iPad skins.
I'm pretty sure I now have the prettiest laptop ever.
Little Things Captured In Time—it's perfection.
Note: Kathleen didn't ask me to write this. I wasn't given anything for free—I have bought and will continue to buy her art with my own money. I just absolutely love what she does.