At some point in the class, they were discussing marriage and the teacher suggested that every couple have a white board somewhere in their room to write little notes to each other. Someplace private, where no one else sees it and your kids aren't constantly scribbling on it. As is typical of my in-laws and true to their nature which I adore, everyone rolled their eyes and commented on how lame and utterly cheesy that idea was.
And it is, completely lame and cheesy but here's the thing: it's also completely fantastic! Jen hung one up in their closet and was always saying how much she loved the notes Matt left her, some of which were sweet, a lot of which were hysterical, but all of which were thoughtful. And even Matt, whose emotional side is almost completely non-existent, told me quietly one day that "I actually really like it. It's pretty cool."
I was sold.
On Christmas morning, somewhere between all the "cool" presents, Brad unwrapped our whiteboard. We looked at each other and laughed and promptly hung it in our closet.
At first the notes were pretty simple, but always touching.
"Thanks for making such a great dinner. I loved it!"
"I really appreciate you getting gas in my car for me tonight. It will save me time in the morning!"
And then there was the time I tried to summon my inner hubba hubba and wrote, after a particularly stressful day "Meet me in the bathtub later?"
To which my darling husband responded "Nah."
This fun little exchange of thoughts went on for a few months and I think we both looked forward to stumbling upon new messages. The very nature of the idea causes you to be spontaneous, to think of the little things, and to say what you want to say but rarely do. It's genius.
Back in March, when we were in the throes of the having the Black Plague hang over our house and everyone had their own version of some heinous illness, Brad and I were talking one early morning. He asked how I was and I told him that between all the kids, I had been up 9 times during the night and felt completely exhausted. He gave me a big hug, chided me for not waking him up to help and went off to the shower. I laid in bed and tried to sleep a bit more before the next child woke up.
Fast forward a few hours when I went into the closet to get another load of laundry. I hadn't showered yet, I was still in my pajamas, and was feeling pretty sorry for myself (and my incredibly sick kids) when I glanced up at the whiteboard:
And then I sat on the floor in my closet and cried.
That message meant more to me that I can explain. He made me feel appreciated, and good at what I do, and validated, and loved, and all the things that I wasn't feeling at the time. I called him at school to thank him and told him that I was never erasing that message because it made me feel so incredibly good. I always feel proud to be his wife, so to have him say it about me was magical.
Last week, with that same message still in place on the whiteboard, he jokingly asked if I was ever going to erase it. And today I finally did. I have garnered everything I needed from it and am ready to get back in the game of message writing. I think every couple should have one, lame and cheesy as it is, and see how if it makes a difference in your relationship. I know it will.
I wonder what I'll write today. Maybe something thoughtful, probably something funny, but I'm pretty sure it won't be an invite to the bathtub.