N is for Note

note: a brief, informal letter.

IMG_1604I am a sucker for a handwritten note.

I love opening the mailbox and seeing a smaller, maybe cream-colored envelope among the bluish-white rectangular ones with their plastic windows, most likely containing bills or offers I can’t refuse. The paper is often slightly textured, always a little heavier than the typical business envelope. And then there is the handwriting. Is there anything more intimate, more telling than someone’s handwriting? I see my name written in ink, sometimes scrawled, sometimes delicately etched in swirls and loops and it’s always a thrill.

In the beginning of our love affair, Josh left notes for me everywhere. In the mornings I’d find a two-by-two inch yellow sticky note on the kitchen counter wishing me a sweet and sun-filled day. Once, when I showed up at my dentist’s downtown San Francisco office for a cleaning, the receptionist handed me a small, flat card.

“This is for you,” she tittered.

I immediately recognized the colorful wine and cheese graphic on the front of card. It as a mailer from Josh’s company, an online gourmet food and wine shop. Flipping it over I saw his signature lefty handwriting: a love note. How could I not marry this romantic, glass-always-half full guy?

IMG_1609My kids often slide notes under my bedroom door or leave them on my pillow. Coming home after a grown-up dinner out, I’m greeted by a sweet missive from my middle child. The “D” and the “M” in “Dear Mom” are densely decorated with curlicues. Often she is wishing me good night using our special family sign off (night-night-see-you-in-the-morning-love-you). Other times she is letting me know what transpired while I was away: “Ella watched The Hunger Games the whole time you were gone…” My 6th grader writes me notes letting me know how she feels when she’s overwhelmed and can’t translate her emotions into spoken words. Her notes often give us both the opening we need to talk about the big stuff she’s facing as she grows up.

I try to give as good as I get, tucking little notes of mama love into the girls’ lunches, sending thank you notes and condolence notes, mailing hand-addressed holiday cards. Declarations of love and devotion; promises to stay true; ways of saying I miss you, I’m sorry, I’m thinking about you. Like all of us living in this uber-connected world, I also convey these feelings through texts and emails and even on Facebook, but these digital messages feel so ephemeral, too easily deleted or left to rot in an inbox. Handwriting always reinforces my sentiments, helping me think through what I want to say in a way that typing does not.

What I truly love about a handwritten note is how personal it is, even beyond the words: this is where my fingers touched the paper, where my pen bore out my heart to you. The corner of the card is bent, the ink a little smeared. Wordless traces of the person beyond the page and the love we share.

I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.

2 thoughts on “N is for Note

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