One of the best parts of my kindergarten days was opening up my lunchbox and finding a note from my mom. Being the beautiful artist that she is, the little notes she left beside my turkey sandwich were always accompanied by a Disney character or pretty flower. It was a nice reminder that someone at home loved me, and it gave me a quick smile as I navigated the big, scary world of elementary school.
In a similar fashion, Florida mom Julie Clarke, has written her daughter a lunchbox note every day for the past year. Filled with pops of color and inspirational words, Amelie is sent to school with a life lesson.
“Amelie was starting kindergarten and I wanted to do something special,” Clarke told the Parent Toolkit. “She likes getting this colorful piece of love out of her lunchbox.”
Sitting down each night, Clarke takes out her paper, colored pencils, and markers and gets to work, sometimes staying up into the early hours of the morning to finish. Then, before packing the note into Amelie’s lunchbox, Clarke takes a picture and posts it to her Instagram account, called Amelie’s Lunch Notes. Clarke originally intended to document the notes for just friends and family, but she has quickly gained over 700 followers in just two weeks.
While Amelie is only 6 years old and may not fully understand all of her mother’s thoughts put to paper, she still very much enjoys them. “I don’t think the message is getting across all the time,” said Clarke. “But I hope to save them for later and can use them to teach her lessons in the future.”
And, unfortunately, those life lessons have become necessary sooner than Clarke anticipated. On May 1, Amelie’s dad John Clarke passed away unexpectedly due to an allergic reaction to a bee sting.
In a very emotional message, Clarke used the lunchbox notes Amelie knows so well, to help her daughter understand the tragic situation in a way that would be easier for her to understand.
“Daddy was one of the best people in the whole wide world,” began Clarke’s note. “But I know you already knew that. I don’t think you know how many people hold a piece of love in their heart for Daddy.”
In a sweet attempt to console young Amelie, who was absent from school last week, the lunch notes have made another appearance. This time, from her classmates. Upon her return to school on Monday, every student had written at least two notes for Amelie.
“It okay to be sad,” wrote Amelie’s classmate, Alice. “Chear up Amelie.”
Another drew inspiration from Peter Pan in her message, “All you need is faith, hope, and pixie dust! And you’ll get through this!”
Even beyond the raw sentiment of these kindergartners, people from all over the world have started to send Amelie lunchbox notes. From countries as far as Germany, the Clarkes have received over 70 letters, with more arriving daily.
These very special letters have shown Amelie the goodness in the world, even during a difficult time. Commenting on the affect these strangers’ notes have had, Clarke says: “It’s really touching. The whole thing is pretty overwhelming especially when people that I don’t even know are doing this. People are good. People are thoughtful and they care.”
We hope these lunch notes are providing both Amelie and her mother with some comfort. Our hearts are with you.More On