Being a parent is full of enjoying time with your kids and simultaneously hoping they don’t grow up too quickly.
There are some episodes they may not mind speeding up or forgetting altogether, but most parents express the common sadness over their children becoming adults in the blink of an eye.
When kids go away to college, it can leave their parents scrambling for things to do. Some parents go back to school, some get more involved in their church or some other local group, and others quickly become grandparents and start a new phase of life.
But that empty in-between time can be lonely. Cheryl Gottlieb Boxer was experiencing just that when she dropped off her son at the train station.
He was a freshman heading back for his spring semester, but mom was obviously going to miss his presence around the house.
“I returned home and found the house too quiet,” she wrote on “No Sick Days For Mom,” her Facebook page. “I missed his chatter, his guitar music and video games. Every corner of the house felt barren in his absence.”
Her son must’ve predicted she would miss his presence. If she’s anything like my mother, she probably kept telling him how nice it was for him to be there, at least heavily implying — if not outright saying — that she would miss him terribly once he was gone.
But he left an echo of himself, a reminder for his mother that he wouldn’t forget her and he understood that she would miss him.
Cheryl began to find little scraps of paper around the house, each one with a different hand-scrawled message in her son’s familiar handwriting.
Her son knew just the right places to hide these little messages. “He left me notes in all the places he knows I’ll find them,” she wrote.
You can probably guess where some of those spots were. Mirrors, tubs, and coffee machines: all staples.
“‘Have a nice bath’ on the edge of the bath tub. ‘You look beautiful’ on the mirror of my medicine cabinet. ‘I love you’ inside my coffee maker,” she continued on Facebook.
The thoughtfulness in these little notes is heartwarming. It’s one thing to say you care for a person, it’s another to show it.
And this was the perfect surprise for this particular mother. She said that they’ve made her “so happy.” Understandably, she’s concerned that they’ll run out soon, and is no doubt savoring each one she finds.
She asked him why he left the notes, and his response was that he didn’t want her to forget him. But perhaps the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, in a positive sense.
Because his mom had sent him off with a hidden note, too: “Be careful and I love you.” Now that’s parenting done right.
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