One of my favorite things when my kids were younger was finding notes under our bedroom door. They were usually folded and taped shut and were addressed to either Mom or Dad and only that person should read them—because they were usually complaints about the other one. I’d grab my coffee and prop myself up to enjoy the latest correspondence.
One such note from my daughter told me that I needed to get my own brain and stop listening to Dad. He was so unfair for sending her to her room for calling him a “dickweed.” She meant it as a joke. He has no sense of humor. She ended the note with, “DO NOT show this to Dad.”
When we’d go out of town, sweet notes often appeared. “I’ll really miss you, but I want you to have a good time. Please don’t forget me.” (A picture was enclosed for each of us.)
Another note to “Dad Only” suggested that he be in charge of allowance:
“Mom wants us to do chores and you just give us money, so let’s just get allowance from you. Mom can do the chores. It will be much easier. This can be our secret. DO NOT show this to Mom.”
The notes continued to flow as each child grew older. Often there were apologies:
“Mom, I’m sorry I was rude, but you ask too many questions. I am old enough to stay out until midnight with my friends. I shouldn’t have to call you. Am I still grounded? I said I was sorry.”
“Dad is so mean. Everybody skips school. It’s part of growing up. I should not have to miss the dance this weekend just for that. I love you so much, Mom. Please talk some sense into Dad. DO NOT show this note to Dad.”
“Dad, I didn’t mean to sneak out last night to meet Joey. Before I knew it, the patio door opened and I was locked outside. He just came over to help me get back in. Then we were lying on the sofa to get some body heat. We were just getting warmed up when Mom thought we were making out and sent him home. So not fair! Please tell her I would never make out while you guys were sleeping. DO NOT show this note to Mom.”
“Mom, there is a boy sleeping on the sofa. His name is Matt. He had a fight with his mom and needed a place to sleep. He’s really nice, and it’s only five degrees outside so I told him he could sleep on our couch. Don’t wake him up. He had a really bad night. Tell Dad, too.”
“Dad, I’m sorry I called you a butt wad. You are a really good dad. Sometimes you just act like one. I probably shouldn’t have said you were being a jerk. I will remember that the next time we fight. DO NOT tell Mom about this.”
“It’s not easy living in this house. I have homework, sports, and chores. If you wonder why I’m grumpy, this is why. Life is too hectic for me. Please write an excuse note saying I have measles. Then I can stay home from school for a week. Tell them it’s really bad and I am very contagious. Then I can get happy again. Ask DAD to sign it, too. I love you.”
“I wish you never married Dad. Why didn’t you marry a fun husband? I am so tired of cleaning my room to his standards. I don’t care about the Army way. I am not in the Army. He’s not in the Army. Tell him to get over it! It’s my life and I can have a messy room if I want to.”
“P.S. I think I have a mouse in my room. Can you ask Dad to catch it, please?”
Now that they’re all grown, I really miss those little notes.
I don’t know if I should tell them that.