Hi, my name is Serge and I’m a lunchbox notes junkie.
My trusty pad of sticky notes, a little Sharpie, some crayons if my mood calls for them, and I’m in my element, man.
Every evening (if I’ve got my sh*t together and I’m doing tomorrow’s lunches ahead of time) or every morning* (*I never have my sh*t together, dude), I revel in creating some kind of personal message accompanied by bad art for my older two, Violet, 7, and Henry, 5. I customize these things too. I’m no slacker when it comes to the notes.
If Henry is into the Loch Ness Monster that week: BOOM. Loch Ness Monster drawing.
If Violet has been reminiscing about one of our dogs that died: BOOM. Max or Milo chasing a frisbee in front of some gleaming sunlit mountains drawing.
Favorite bands? Favorite foods? Favorite dad riding on the back of a giant wild turkey? I draw ’em all. Terribly, I might add. But still. I do what I can.
Why, though? The kids definitely seem into the notes, but let’s be honest: It isn’t like they come home and can’t wait to tell me what a wonderful pick-me-up my stupid lunch note was in the middle of their day. They barely mention them.
That’s when I sometimes start steering the dinner conversations. I try to be subtle, but I’m a little suspicious of myself, I can’t lie. I bring up the notes. I ask them if they liked them. I hold up that day’s lunch notes (they always bring them home) and I smile and point at the damn thing like a flight attendant pointing at that fake seat buckle they wave around in the aisle during the safety spiel.
I think maybe I creep my own kids out a little.
Why do I even bother with these lunch notes then? What compels me to really want to make them each and every time I pack a sandwich? I sure as heck don’t spend that much time on the sandwich, I can tell you that! If I did, other kids would be mugging my kids in the hall, chasing down the most magnificent peanut butter and Fluff sandwich known to man.
Why do I do it then?
Is it ego?
Is it because I love my kids so much?
Is it because I’m losing my mind a little bit more each day?
My guess is that it’s a combination of all three.
But mostly I think it’s because I still can’t believe any of this, you know? I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m a dad. That I’m THEIR DAD. It’s mind-blowing, a million dreams come true and then some. And then some more. And I think sometimes I simply don’t know what to do about it, about the way I feel inside when I see them first thing in the morning and I wanna hug them tight (just before they’ve pissed me off and drained my soul of its daily juice and I NEED them to go back to bed).
That’s why. That’s why I do these notes with magic marker images of wild turkeys and our long lost dogs and Bigfoot and The Ramones and anything else that my kids happen to be into at the time. And that’s why I never, ever let them see the notes before they see them for the first time at school, at lunch. I know how goofy that sounds, but think about it: I want that note to be a dazzling display of personal touch magic created by dear old Dad and untouched by anyone’s eyes but mine until then.
That’s so ridiculous, I know.
But it’s also so true.
I get so much out of imagining my kids, away from home/out in the world/living their life, finding a new note tucked down underneath the granola bars or the pickles no one ever friggin’ eats.
Like I said, I’m addicted. I get a jolt, a kick out of this tiny expression that represents something I can barely manage or divvy up right. My love. I try. I mess up. I try again. But with the notes I kind of feel like I hit a home run every single time. Even if they suck. Even if my drawing is super bad. I still try, you know? And in this case trying feels just like doing. Or like succeeding. And I dig that feeling. Probably because I barely ever feel it across the rest of my life.
Wanna know a secret?
I’ve even thought of doing breakfast notes, maybe tucking them under their cereal bowls in the morning or something.
That would be so weird though, huh?
Please tell me that would be weird.