A paper airline glided onto the kitchen countertop. When it landed, my daughter asked me to open the flaps. A meaning existed behind her request. She sometimes prefers to communicate with a handwritten note. Some days she might scrawl an affirmation or a request; other times her letters form a thoughtful apology. This particular paper airplane note followed after I tried to apologize to her. She stared into my eyes with a clear focus and kept nodding her head and saying, “No, Momma, I do not accept your apology. You hurt my feelings.” Those words gnawed with a sting – as if I walked with my bare feet over flaming glass.
Her angst warranted, I attempted to make amends. I thought about how my reach could salvage the situation. Although I write a letter to her every year during her birthday, I tend to skip penning everyday notes. Those sentimental pieces come from her father. He opts to pen a letter before a business trip or might leave a personal message like “Believe in yourself” or “I love you” on a slip of paper in her lunchbox. WIthout hesitation, she often flips the paper on its backside and grabs a marker to pen her own message. Once she is finished, she lays it on her father’s nightstand.
Since my pleas failed to reach her, I decided to send her a message. I unfolded a white piece of paper and wrote an apology and followed it with those words that we sometimes take for granted, “I love you.”Trish Dolasinski The last sentence read, “Please send a note back.” I included this line because these words are hallmark of every note she has written in the past.
I called out to her and said, “I wrote you a note. Do you want to read it?” Her steps moved with a defined quickness. I spotted a small smile creeping across her face. She masked her feelings by looking down, but I already noticed the glee. Under my breath, I sighed with a mixture of relief and happiness.
After reading my message, she penned her own message and sent it down, airplane style. In her eight-year-old handwriting, I see the word, “I axcept your apology. Love you, Momma.” My reaction surprised me. A tear started to saunter down my cheek. I wiped my face and my daughter and I hugged each other with an embrace only mothers and their children understand.
After releasing her from my grip, she said, “I wish you wrote more notes to me, Momma. I really love them.” I overlooked the importance of this handwritten gesture.
Sometimes the written word has power in unexpected ways.
Image: “Untitled” by Plear Littlefield via Flickr.
This post originally appeared on The First Day.