You have to write it in your own handwriting.
And you have to hide it for the person to find later (when they least expect it).
A few days ago, a friend of mine led me back to her bedroom to show me something very precious, very secret. Stored within a tin container by her bed, hundreds of tiny notes, carefully folded and faded with time, made this beautiful monument of paper love.
My friend explained that whenever she left home for any reason–camp, a trip away, college, marriage–her mother wrote a little note and hid it somewhere. Days later, my friend might find a love note tucked in a pajama leg, a Biology textbook, a towel. The notes were simple and often silly.
“But it showed us all how much she loved us,” my friend recounted, describing a mother’s love in hidden notes for all of her children. On this very day, that mother turns 60 years old. To celebrate, friends and family were invited to send that mother handwritten love notes in the same style and form (rhyming couplets, whimsical messages) that she had composed all those years for her own children. I imagine her bedroom might be covered with them today.
My friend shared this beautiful tradition with me in hopes I might pass it on to my own children.
That night, I wrote two handwritten love notes to my daughters. One I hid under a pillow, and the other I hid within the pages of a book my daughter was reading. When they found them, I watched them giggle and smile. They came and hugged me. My oldest daughter carefully folded her love note and went to her room.
I watched her put my note in a little basket by her bed. When I went to look where she had put it, I found every handwritten thing I’d ever written to her carefully folded, stacked and stored.
Hidden love notes, handwritten and often silly, might be the scaffolding to aid how a secure life is built. She pulls on a jacket, digs deep into the pockets one impossibly cold and dreary winter day when life weighs her down (as it will), and there she finds a love note. It might just change everything.