Monday, September 11, 2006

R.S.V.P.

Shortly after our son entered the first grade, he began to haul home bundles of Big Chief Tablet pages full of alphabet letters and short sentences, all carefully copied from his primer. As we discussed these important papers over an aferschool cookie and glass of milk, the pride he felt in finally being able to write "big people's words" fairly beamed from his freckled face.

It wasn't long after that my husband and I began finding notes from our son pinned to our pillowcases, stuffed in our pockets or lying on our plates at the kitchen table. The messages generally read, "Deer Mom (or Dad), I love you very much." We were tickled to receive these little affirmations of his affection, of course, and chuckled privately between ourselves over our pride and joy's ingeniousness at finding unusual places to leave his calling card.

Several weeks after we'd found the first of these notes, my husband and I attended the funeral of a dear friend, and our son homed in on our sadness. "Deer Mom (or Dad)," he wrote in his next few missives. "When you dye, I will put flours on your grav." The junk drawer, the front seat of the car, the desk - everywhere we looked we found these heartening memos.

Then the notes began showing up less frequently. I found I missed them and began to hunt for them. At one point I asked my husband if perhaps he'd found them first and discarded them. No, he said, he'd missed them too.

Soon after, the notes stopped altogether. One morning I asked our son why he'd quit leaving us messages. He rolled his big brown eyes, heaved a huge sigh and said, "You never answered them."

6 Comments:

Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

You made me all weepy, Fran! Beautiful story. (And thank God for waterproof mascara.)

6:02 PM  
Blogger Sue J. said...

Oh my, with tears running down my cheeks, I read your eloquent words. As the mother of a very dear son, I, too, know there have been missed opportunities to express our love to him. I am going downstairs to his office right now and leave him a note on his desk. You can guess what it's going to say. Thank you for the inspiriation and the figurative cuff upside the head.
Sue J.

6:04 PM  
Blogger mary said...

Awww, what a great story! Have you started answering him yet?

6:20 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Wonderful story, Fran. You raised a terrific son.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

It's funny, isn't it, how things like this stick with us? My heart just broke when he said that. And I made up my mind right then that he would never go unanswered again.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

What a lovely story and what a wonderful son you have! I'll bet that you still have all those notes too.

10:59 AM  

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