It started in Kindergarten. This was a particularly difficult year for the Jersey Momma's Boy. He had just lost his cousin Joey to brain cancer, he had just lost his dog, Milo, to lung disease. He was starting school in a brand new place with kids he didn't know, and he was just not looking forward to it. There were a lot of meltdowns. A lot of sadness and crying. I wished I didn't have to send him every day. He hated going. Every day. So I started leaving notes in his lunch box to cheer him up. They were on post-it notes, with a picture I would draw using a Sharpie. Then I'd color my drawing with crayons.
|A rainy day lunch box note|
He would always bring the notes back home and I would just throw them away. But one day he caught me tossing them and he said, 'Don't throw them out! I want you to save them.' I figured, why not? and stuffed them in a small ziploc bag in the kitchen each day when I emptied out his lunch box.
|Lunch Box note bag|
When Kindergarten ended, I put all the notes in a small photo album so he could look through them like a book. It would've been cooler if I could have found one of those peel and stick type of albums from the 80's, but I couldn't seem to find one in the store (do they even make them anymore? What do kids put their sticker collections in, for goodness sake?).
|A special album for our Kindergarten lunch box notes|
|Our Summer 'Stuff We Did' jar|
I actually got the idea from the 'Stuff We Did' book from the movie, Up. Carl and Ellie kept an adventure scrapbook, but in there somewhere she had left him a 'Stuff We Did' section to see after she had gone.
Before school started, we looked through all of the fun things we had done that Summer. We talked about all the fun things we would do again next summer. It made the transition a little easier.
|Summer 'stuff we did!' Bird feathers, too.|
And then my notes began again. This time I started saving them right from the beginning of the year (although some didn't survive the transition home, but most did). I kept them in a new ziploc bag in the kitchen drawer. I meant to take them out at the end of the school year like we did in Kindergarten, but I totally forgot about them. First Grade was a great year. The Jersey Momma's Boy had an awesome teacher and I will always be grateful for the kindness, caring and consideration she showed him!
|1st Grade Lunch Box note bag|
Summer flew by in all of its majestic glory and Second Grade appeared on the horizon. The Jersey Momma's Boy was not really excited, but not really dreading it like he did Kindergarten, either. Just by chance, I came across the bag of notes from the previous year while cleaning the kitchen. I decided to spread the notes out for him to see, just for kicks. School was starting in a few days. Maybe it would make him smile.
|Over 100 Lunch Box notes from 1st Grade!|
What I didn't expect was how enthusiastic the notes made him. As we read through each one, it helped him remember all of the fun times from school, similar to our Summer jar. 'Have fun on your field trip!' 'Smile for Picture Day!' 'Have fun exchanging Valentines!' Each note was a reminder of classroom fun. 'Enjoy the Science Show today!' 'See you at the Spring Concert!' or his favorite, 'You made it! Last day!'
|Lunch Box notes!|
|Lunch Box note love|
So the lunch box notes have become a necessity in this household! I make each one the night before so I don't have to rush and do it in the morning. Now if only I could get him to eat a decent lunch. All he ever wants me to pack him are crackers and pepperoni. Sigh.