My daughter loves writing notes.

Sometimes when she is upset, she will write a handwritten note and slip it underneath my office door. Always, always, she writes, “Please write me back.” I do, of course, even if the note comes during the busiest part of my day. We’ve always emphasized the importance of writing as way  to express emotions, especially since her default is to cry when she is upset. I know one day this kind of communication may wane. She may grow out of writing notes or deem it as childish. It is another rite of passage I risk losing as she grows up.

These notes are important because they also help cultivate a pathway in expressing gratitude. I enjoy writing Thank You notes or sending a random card to a friend. With the advent of technology, it is refreshing to receive something personal and handwritten in the mail. Some of my favorite notes are tacked up on a bulletin board in my office and serve as reminders (especially on those days that I need some uplifting words) of how much I am loved. I’ve tried to teach our daughter the importance of writing Thank You notes after her birthday parties, sleepovers or when a friend shows her a particular kindness.

Last week, my daughter decided to write a thank you note to me. What prompted her note? I surprised her at summer camp with lunch from Subway and kept her company while she scarfed down her sandwich and chips. When she came home in the afternoon, she headed straight to her room and lingered a little longer than usual. I heard her bolt out of her room, her footsteps quickening toward my office and in her hand she held up a card.

I asked, “What’s this?”

She said, “It is for you, Momma. Open it.”

When I opened it, this message appeared, “Thank you mommy for bringing me Subway. You are very kind to use time from your day and give me Subway. You are the best momma. I could never ask for a better mommy! Love you lots. You are my BFFL. Best Friend For Life. Love you.”

I paused for a second after I read her sweet message. I never envisioned that delivering a sandwich might evoke this kind of response from her, but my simple gesture seem to make an impact. Not only on her. But for me too. I read the note a few times and reread the line, Best Friend For Life, over and over again. This one note created an umbrella of varying emotions: love, adoration, surprise and a twinge of sadness. A time will arrive when I will not be anointed the title, best friend for life. My hope is that she will still retain that fondness for me as she grows older, but I know, that like all relationships, we will probably endure arguments and disagreements. It is the natural curve of the mother-daughter relationship.

For now, though, I will focus on her words. And hope that she never loses her need to write a note.