I'd been tucking little notes into Sean's lunchbox. "I love you," "I hope you're having a good day," that sort of thing.
After I'd done that for about a week without any reaction from the addressee, it came up in a conversation about why Sean wasn't finishing his lunch. I knew the real reason -- my son is an incurable chatterbox -- but I hinted at another explanation.
"I know!" I said. "You can't finish your lunch because you're SO busy reading the notes from me each day, right?"
"Did you even NOTICE the notes?"
"Well, yeah. But I haven't been taking them out and reading them."
"Oh. Umm, why?"
"Because [Name Withheld] asked me why my mom was putting a note in my lunch all the time, and I said I didn't know."
"Did it make you feel kind of self-conscious that you had notes in your lunchbox?"
I get it, of course. Who wants to be singled out and teased because his mom sends little messages with her little boy's lunch? I know how the grade school social field is littered with landmines. This one, at least, can be easily sidestepped.
"Okay, I understand. I don't want you to feel uncomfortable in front of your friends. I won't send the notes anymore. But remember that I'm thinking of you throughout the day, okay?"
"Yeah, okay, Mom."
Ah well. I'm sure this won't be the last unceremonious demise of what I'd hoped would be a beloved tradition. At least for now he still holds my hand when we walk to school.