I admit I enjoy cleaning out my closets! I get organized, I throw out my middle school paper mache art projects (call me "Mama Packrat"), and I make piles of stuff to donate. It's a big job--going through mounds and mounds of my junk--but it's fun work and the end results are always satisfying.
The very best thing about cleaning out a cluttery closet is discovering the wonderful treasures lurking in there: Chinese money from a trip to Beijing, an old Pez dispenser collection (call me "Mama Dorky"), funny photos of college roomies, and these little gems...
I know they don't look like much...until I turn them over.
Special love notes from my mother, written on napkins and stuffed into the lunches I took to school!
Love napkins at lunchtime!
While in elementary school and middle school, I frequently brought lunches from home. My "Mama Jenneice" would lovingly pack a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Cheetos for me almost every day. Sometimes I'd open my "Popples" lunch box (children of the 1980s, do you remember those?) and find an apple and a bologna sandwich. Occasionally, Mom would pack a baggie full of cookies for dessert. (OF COURSE I understood those were to be eaten AFTER my lunch was finished!)
As I got older, and got rid of the Popples lunch box, I would open my brown paper lunch sack and find any one of a variety of sandwiches--turkey and roast beef, tuna fish, ham and cheese on a hoagie. Sometimes I would find crackers in place of chips. Sometimes there was a banana in the bottom of the bag, instead of an apple. Sometimes I discovered a brownie waiting for me, rather than a cookie. BUT, no matter the contents of my lunch, I ALWAYS found a love napkin. I remember exactly how I felt every time I received one--they made each day a little brighter, a little more sparkly, a little more special.
(A side note, since I adore side notes in my blog posts: Notice the pink napkin. It reads, "Aleisha, You are great in Math." That is my mother "pumping me up" and being supportive of me because of a hard math test I had to take that day. She knew I was worried about failing it; she wanted me to feel that there was no way I would. And that is exactly what good mothers do.)
The napkins in the photo are easily fifteen to twenty years old. I have kept them and treasured them for a very long time.
Because they are a symbol of my mother's love for me. They represent her thoughtfulness, and her willingness to do something extra kind for me. In their simplicity they convey volumes. They say: "I see you. I care about you. I am thinking about you. I'm here for you. I love you." They are evidence I was raised by a good woman--one who worked hard to put family first; one who was unwaveringly dedicated to her calling of "mother." And most importantly, they now remind me of the kind of mother I want to be like.
Today, I'll be sure to let my mom know I love her. I'll put it on a napkin.